Debt Demographics: Are Your Neighbors Big Spenders?


The Web site is out with a comprehensive look at which cities and states accumulate the most debt, and the results might surprise you – especially if you live in Texas.

According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of U.S. consumer debt is $2.5 trillion (as of the end of 2009). That’s about $8,100 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

And, according to, the average U.S. household spent $37,782 last year, not counting mortgage or rent.

The breakdown (including housing expenses) goes like this:

  • Shopping - 23%
  • Gas and auto expenses – 14%
  • Food and drink – 17.5%
  • Travel & leisure – 7%
  • Health & family expenses – 17%
  • Mortgage or rent – 21%

But where do the biggest offenders reside? Surprisingly it’s not New York City or Los Angeles. The citizens of Austin, Texas, spent the most money last year according to, averaging $67,076 in overall household expenses. Bundle estimates that number as being 77% higher than the national average in 2009.

The lowest-spending city – not surprising given its chart-toppng unemployment rate – is Detroit. Residents there only spent $16,446 on average in 2009.

State-wise, residents of Connecticut opened their wallets and pocketbooks the most, while West Virginian’s spent the least – 35% less than the national average. Bundle points out that residents of New Canaan, Conn., spent more than $25,000 on dining out alone. That’s more the average West Virginian spent overall (at $24,517).

The survey reveals some interesting tidbits about married-versus-single spending. You might think that having children, and the resulting need for more groceries, more clothes, a bigger house and more spending on health care and college expenses, would far outweigh what singles spend. But bachelor (and bachelorette) spending more than holds its own – married couples only spend 8% more than single households, according to the survey.

The age threshold for married couples appears to be 36. Before that, married couples keep their financial gunpowder dry – but after age 36, married couples spend more, especially on things like dining out and travel.

Biggest Spenders, by State

  1. Connecticut ($57,331)
  2. District of Columbia ($49,430)
  3. Hawaii ($46,518)
  4. California ($42,962)
  5. Texas ($42,623)
  6. Arizona ($41,752)
  7. Illinois ($41,627)
  8. New York ($40,783)
  9. Maryland ($40,538)
  10. Washington ($40,480)

Biggest Spenders, by City

  1. Austin ($67,076)
  2. Scottsdale, Ariz. ($64,687)
  3. San Jose ($59,022)
  4. Arlington, Va. ($52,085)
  5. Plano, Texas ($56,738)
  6. Raleigh, N.C. ($53,398)
  7. Nashville ($52,964)
  8. Tucson ($51,857)
  9. Irvine, Calif. ($51,286)
  10. Durham, N.C. ($51,114)

The survey is a good look at how Americans spend – and where they spend the most. To get the full figures, check out the survey.

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