American consumers have long relied on credit card debt to fuel their spending habits, and despite paying off a record $82.1 billion in credit card debt in 2020, the country’s plastic debtors are back to their habit of carrying higher amounts of unsecured, high-interest consumer debt.
US consumers added $87.3 billion to their credit card debt last year, more than wiping out gains made the year before, according to online personal financial information provider WalletHub. Americans owed $1.02 trillion to their credit card issuers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, with an average debt of $8,590 per household. (As gasoline prices rise, consumers could take on more and more debt. These are the states with the highest gas prices.)
To identify the cities with the most credit card debt last year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed WalletHubranking of average household credit card debt for 182 US cities. All data is from the report, except for the median household income figures, which are from five-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2019 U.S. Community Survey. To create its report, WalletHub used data from the Census Bureau, Federal Reserve, TransUnion, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the 25 US cities whose households carry the most credit card debt, the average outstanding balance ranges from $12,900 in Anaheim, California to $16,126 in Pearl City, Hawaii. (Check if California and Hawaii are among the States where most people are behind on mortgage payments.)
The average credit card debt per household in the most indebted cities was $13,932 at the end of 2021, after households in those cities paid off an average of $2,442 in credit card debt throughout of the year. Collectively, credit card debtors in those cities owed $4.1 billion at the end of 2021, after paying off $653 million in unpaid credit card debt that year.
Debtors with higher outstanding balances tend to have higher debt repayments because they may be trying harder to reduce their high balances, but this is not always the case. Credit card debtors in Pearl City, for example, paid off an average of just $908 per household last year, despite owing the most on average among the 181 cities WalletHub examined. By contrast, households in Santa Clarita, Calif., paid an average of $4,715, the highest refund among the cities surveyed, ending last year with an average credit card of $14,995.
Click here to see the cities with the highest credit card debt