What's the Average Personal Debt for Most Americans?
December 15, 2021

What’s the Average Personal Debt for Most Americans? 

Credit has provided Americans with ways to finance homes, cars, education, etc. And while the invention of credit has played a significant role in increasing the average person’s purchasing power, it’s been accompanied by a host of issues—most specifically, debt. Today, American consumers collectively hold over $14.2 trillion in debt with the average person carrying over $90,000 in outstanding debt. 

If you are in over your head with debt, it’s important to make a game plan and get on top of the situation. Debt that is left unattended will continue to accrue interest, making eliminating it challenging and overwhelming. 

Where Do Most Americans Have Debt?

If you’re wondering what the best way is to deal with your debt, a debt settlement attorney can be a great resource. Here’s a look at the various places Americans hold debt. 

Credit Cards

Credit cards hold both great value and danger. While they can help you access items you would otherwise not be able to quickly get a hold of, they can also cause people to overspend, and in doing so, rack up serious debt. In fact, 75 percent of American adults carry an unpaid balance on their credit card from month to month, with the average balance being just over $5,000. Carrying a balance on a credit card should be avoided at all costs as every month you don’t pay your bill in full, interest accrues on the outstanding balance. 


It’s probably no surprise that mortgages represent the most debt held by Americans. The average mortgage balance in America is over $200,000. Because 2020 saw historic lows in mortgage interest rates, many Americans continued to buy homes amidst the pandemic despite economic uncertainty. While delinquency on mortgages has seen a significant drop over the past year, it’s likely due to government-sponsored pandemic programs that provided relief to individuals across the country struggling to make their payments. In fact, over 2 million American homeowners were enrolled in a mortgage forbearance program at the end of 2020. 


Most Americans don’t have the money to pay for a car in full upfront. Instead, they use a combination of a down payment and auto loan. Using a loan to pay for a car is incredibly common, and over 60% of Americans have one auto loan with the average outstanding balance being just over $19,000. Just like credit cards, not making your car payment in full each month means it will accrue interest, increasing your total balance and potentially the amount of time it will take you to pay off the loan. 

Student Loans

Just like other forms of credit, student loans can be an amazing way to pay for an education that you would otherwise not be able to afford. However, many Americans struggle to pay off their student loans postgraduate and accumulate significant debt. In America, students collectively hold $1.6 trillion in student debt with the average student loan being approximately $38,000. Fortunately, there are numerous strategies for dealing with student loans, and individuals struggling to make payments should explore federal options, such as income-driven repayment plans (IDRs). 

In Over Your Head With Debt? Contact a Debt Settlement Attorney Today

If you are struggling with credit card debt, student loans, or mortgage, you are not alone. While debt can be overwhelming to deal with, it’s best to get on top of the situation in a timely manner to avoid paying mounds in interest. 

At McCarthy Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients navigate their financial circumstances and reach a favorable debt settlement. We understand the overwhelming burden that debt can have on people’s lives and are committed to helping clients end the cycle of debt. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled debt attorneys, call our office at (855) 976-5777 or fill out our online contact form.

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