US /

A Third of US Is on Debt Collectors' Books

Average amount owed: $5K
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2014 7:00 AM CDT
A Third of US Is on Debt Collectors' Books
More than a third of Americans with credit scores have debt in collections.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

More than a third of Americans with credit scores have debt "in collections"—meaning one in three of us has been reported to collection agencies, a study finds. That's a total of 77 million people whose non-mortgage debt is significantly overdue, the Urban Institute notes. The study includes debts ranging from credit card and medical bills to parking tickets, CNNMoney notes. And the widespread issue "can tip employers' hiring decisions, or whether or not you get that apartment," an analyst tells the AP.

The average debt is $5,178, the AP notes. The problem exists all over the country, but Southern and Western states are facing the most trouble. Among the report's findings:

  • Nevada has the highest percentage of people with debt in collections: 47%. In Las Vegas, the figure is 49%. North Dakota has the lowest at 19%, CNNMoney reports.
  • The average amount owed is also highest in Nevada at $7,198. Washington, DC, has the lowest figure at $3,547.
  • At 51%, McAllen, Texas, has the highest percentage of affected people among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas. At least 43% of people in Houston, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio have debt in collections. Minneapolis-St. Paul has the lowest percentage among the 100 biggest metropolitan areas, with 20%.
The complete study is here. (Read more debt stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.