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  • Writer's pictureFair Capital

2023 U.S. Consumer Debt Overview: A Comprehensive Analysis

Updated: Dec 28, 2023


2023 U.S. Consumer Debt Overview

American Consumer Debt in 2023: The Big Picture

In 2023, American consumers are grappling with a staggering total household debt of $17.29 trillion, a notable rise from 2022's $16.38 trillion, as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Experian reported. This 5.56% spike is driven largely by a surge in credit card debt, which alone surpassed $1 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


Breakdown of Average Consumer Debt

  • Credit Card Debt: Climbing from 2022 to 2023, the average credit card debt per American adult now stands at $6,088. High-interest rates, often exceeding 20% APR, make this one of the most burdensome debts.

  • Mortgages: The backbone of consumer debt, average mortgage balances reached $236,443 in 2022. Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) averaged $41,045.

  • Auto Loans: Reflecting a 7.7% increase from 2021, the average auto loan debt per consumer is now $22,612.

  • Student Loans: Averaging $37,338 for federal and $54,921 for private loans, student debt remains a significant burden, albeit with varying protections and repayment options based on loan type.

  • Personal Loans: Rising by 7% from 2021, the average personal loan debt hit $18,255 in 2022.

  • Medical Debt: A 2022 KFF report revealed nearly 9% of U.S. adults owe medical debt, with 11 million Americans having balances over $2,000.


Debt Distribution: Age and Gender Dynamics

  • By Age: Generation X and millennials lead in debt accumulation.

  • By Gender: Men typically owe more, averaging $103,702, compared to women's $85,169, with the exception of student loans.



2023 U.S. Consumer Debt analytic chart
Data credit to TransUnion


Navigating Debt: Strategies and Solutions

  • Communication with Creditors: Negotiating lower interest rates, extended payment terms, or settlement offers can provide relief.

  • Income Boost: Additional income through part-time jobs or freelancing can help manage debt.

  • Debt Consolidation: Consolidating high-interest debts with a personal loan might offer lower rates and more manageable payments.

  • Debt Repayment Methods: The debt snowball (focusing on smallest debts first) and debt avalanche (targeting high-interest debts first) methods are effective strategies.

  • Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans: These plans involve working with agencies to consolidate debts and negotiate with creditors.

  • Debt Settlement: An option for those struggling to make payments, but it comes with risks like credit damage and potential legal actions from creditors.


Conclusion: The Road Ahead

Understanding and managing debt is crucial for financial stability. Awareness of the types of debt and effective strategies for repayment is key to navigating the complexities of consumer debt in America.

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Disclaimer: Any and all information is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice. Please consult your attorney for information concerning allowable rates of interest.

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