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The Most Debt-Ridden Cities in America

Drowning in Debt


When it comes to consumer debt, many of us are swimming deep in the red. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans’ outstanding revolving credit, which includes credit card debt, was a staggering $801 billion in December. And a Bankrate.com survey released this week reports that one in four Americans has more credit card debt than emergency savings.

The nation’s credit problem becomes even more real when you break down the data by location. Credit reporting agency Equifax did just that, providing us with the top 10 most debt-ridden U.S. cities based on which cities’ residents owed the highest proportion of their average yearly income to credit card companies in the fourth quarter of 2011. The metro areas included in the rankings are defined by geographical standards set by the Office of Management and Budget.

Read on for the full list, and if any of the results surprise you, let us know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

10th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Montgomery, Ala.


Median household income: $37,964

Number of households: 147,538

Total credit card debt: $572,599,585

Average credit card debt per household: $3,881

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.22%

Photo Credit: Mark Brennan

9th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Anchorage, Alaska


Median household income: $68,468

Number of households: 143,298

Total credit card debt: $1,005,210,188

Average credit card debt per household: $7,015

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.25%

Photo Credit: AlaskaDude

8th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Honolulu 


Median household income: $62,549

Number of households: 316,589

Total credit card debt: $2,034,056,759

Average credit card debt per household: $6,425

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.27%

Photo Credit: Magnus Brath

7th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, Pa.


Median household income: $43,413

Number of households: 230,247

Total credit card debt: $1,031,781,014

Average credit card debt per household: $4,481

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.32%

Photo Credit: Dougtone

6th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis.


Median household income: $67,049

Number of households: 312,732

Total credit card debt: $2,167,600,930

Average credit card debt per household: $6,931

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.34%

*Editor’s note: These two counties are considered a metro area by the Office of Management and Budget for the purpose of collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics.

Photo Credit: Richie Diesterheft

5th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Colorado Springs, Colo.


Median household income: $54,398

Number of households: 254,066

Total credit card debt: $1,450,099,898

Average credit card debt per household: $5,708

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.49%

Photo Credit: Bob Hall

4th-Most Debt-Ridden City: Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla.


Median household income: $46,674

Number of households: 880,305

Total credit card debt: $4,314,530,744

Average credit card debt per household: $4,901

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.5%

Photo Credit: Infrogmation

3rd-Most Debt-Ridden City: Fayetteville, N.C.


Median household income: $41,325

Number of households: 140,597

Total credit card debt: $613,113,156

Average credit card debt per household: $4,361

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.55%

Photo Credit: cityoffayetteville.org

2nd-Most Debt-Ridden City: El Paso, Texas


Median household income: $37,869

Number of households: 265,305

Total credit card debt: $1,093,753,374

Average credit card debt per household: $4,123

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 10.89%

Photo Credit: Drew Avery

Most Debt-Ridden City: Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.


Median household income: $52,023

Number of households: 639,861

Total credit card debt: $3,826,506,273

Average credit card debt per household: $5,980

Percent of income owed to credit card companies: 11.5%

Photo Credit: Nannette Turner

The Richest Counties in America


You now know where those most plagued with credit card debt live, but where does America’s wealthiest reside? Find out in MainStreet’s roundup of the richest counties in America!

Photo Credit: Felix Dance

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Kristin Colella is a writer/editor for MainStreet. You can follow her on Twitter at @KrisColella.

And if you haven't already, now is a great time to follow MainStreet itself on Twitter. You'll get all of our most important stories, right as they publish. Follow us @mainstr!

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Read More:   credit, credit cards, debt
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