Credit card debt.
It seems to be an inevitable part of life for many Americans.
And, recent data suggests that it really is. According to the Federal Reserve, American credit card debt hit a record high in 2017, rising to more than $1 trillion. Many people carrying high balances on their credit cards will notice their credit score suffering as a result. That’s because credit utilization ratio makes up a large portion of a credit score.
So, where in the U.S. is the bulk of that credit card debt located? Let’s take a look at the most recent data on 25 cities where the highest credit card debt is held by residents as well as the median income in those areas.
- Washington, D.C. Residents of our nation’s capital have an average card balance of $7,442. That debt level may be less burdensome that it appears, however, considering that D.C. enjoys one of the higher median income levels — $46,536.
- Dallas/Fort Worth. The Lone Star State has several cities that made a recent list of cities with the most debt. Specifically, in the Dallas area, credit card debt hovers at an average of $7,171, and the median income there is $33,621.
- New York City. The Big Apple has the highest cost of living, so it’s not surprising it made the list of cities with the most credit card debt. The price for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is more than $3,700 per month. Credit card debt averages $7,145 and the median income is low compared to the cost of living, at $38,951.
- Houston. The second Texas city on the list, Houston’s average credit card debt is $7,121 and the median income is $33,244.
- San Antonio. The Alamo City has almost as high of a debt average as it’s Texas counterparts, at $7,070, but its median income is significantly lower than Dallas or Houston, hovering at about $29,124.
- Baltimore. In Baltimore, the average person carries a credit card balance of $6,985. The median income there is $41,241. On the bright side, the city had one of the top 25 strongest job markets in 2017.
- Atlanta. The average credit card debt in Atlanta is $6,907 compared to a median income of $32,658. However, the Big Peach also enjoyed one of the 25 strongest job markets in the country last year.
- San Diego. Credit card debt averages $6,848 in San Diego and the median income is at $32,656. Like New York, San Diego residents pay higher-than-average rent, with rents increasing more than 7% between 2016 and 2017. Renters pay an average of more than $1,800 per month.
- Seattle. This coveted vacation destination is also a place many people want to call home. But they’ll pay a hefty price to do so because Seattle is also among the cities with highest rents and cost of living. The average credit card balance here is $6,729 compared to an average income of $40,482. Rent for a 900-square-foot apartment average over $2,000.
- Denver. The Mile High City is growing at a breakneck speed in terms of population growth, and the cost of housing and living is reflective of that. When it comes to credit card debt, the average Denverite holds a balance of $6,720, while the median income is $37,049.
- Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love isn’t just home to the current Super Bowl Champs. It’s also home to a considerable amount of people in debt. On average, Philadelphians have card balances of $6,693. The median income, meanwhile, is $36,962.
- Chicago. It’s no secret that the city of Chicago isn’t exactly fiscally healthy. The Windy City has individual debt burdens over $30,000 per taxpayer and that’s just the municipal burden, not taking into account state or federal debt. When it comes to personal credit card debt, the average Chicagoan has $6,649 worth. The median income in the city is relatively low, too, at $35,329.
- Los Angeles. The average credit card debt in L.A. is $6,632 and the median income is $30,944. While there are many draws to the city, it got a downgrade last year in terms of overall quality of life when it comes to places to call home.
- Miami/Fort Lauderdale. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy the sun, surf, and sights of the Miami area. Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to rack up debt. Miami residents have an average credit card debt burden of $6,615 while the median income there is $28,396.
- San Francisco. The City by the Bay is also one of the most expensive in which to take up residence. The median home price hit $1.5 million last year. The debt, in comparison, seems fairly low, hovering at about $6,533, particularly considering the median income is a bit higher than other cities, at $44,304.
- Boston. Bean Town residents have an average of $6,455 in credit card debt. The median income in the city is $40,935. However, the city has the highest rate of income inequality among the 100 largest cities in the country, according to an analysis of 2014 Census data. Households in the top 5% of earners in Boston made at least $266,000, nearly 18 times as much as households in the bottom 20%.
- Phoenix. Phoenix continues to be one of the cities with consistent, dramatic population growth. As of 2016, it claimed 1,615,017 residents. Those living in the city make an average income of $31,744 and carry an average of $6,422 worth of credit card debt.
- Charlotte, N.C. Residents of this city carry an average of $6,296 in credit card debt. $31,896. Despite a high crime rate, people continue to flock to the state of North Carolina in general. Home sales there are predicted to grow 6% statewide in 2018.
- Tampa/St. Petersburg. Home to breathtaking rivers and canals and historic architectural structures, it’s easy to see why people want to live in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Overall, residents carry an average credit card debt burden of $6,204 while the median income is $30,830.
- St. Louis. On average, residents of this city have credit card balances totaling $6,203. The median income here is $32,674.
- Portland. In addition to battling some of the worst traffic in the nation, Portlanders also make the list of the worst debt burdens. The average resident has credit card debt totaling $6,120, while the median income is $32,050.
- Minneapolis/St. Paul. While Minneapolis residents have more debt than people in other cities — approximately $6,036 — they also have higher-than-average credit scores. In 2017, the average credit score in Minneapolis was 709. The city’s median income is $38,067.
- Orlando. Home to Disney and Universal, the tourism industry gives this city a boost. But its full-time residents still carry higher-than-average debt when it comes to credit cards. The average balance is $5,984 and the city’s median income hovers around $28,044.
- Detroit. The city of Detroit’s 2013 Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt. The total was estimated at between $18-$20 billion. Luckily, residents there aren’t in quite the same plight as the economy rebounds. The average credit card balance of Detroit residents is $5,889 and the median income is $31,921.
- Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif. Residents in these cities have an average of $5,829 in credit card debt. The city’s median income is $28,533.
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Josh is the Content Manager at Credit.com. He works with leaders and experts in the credit industry to create educational and timely articles that consumers can use to make more informed decisions. More by Josh Smith