Debt Demographics: Are Your Neighbors Big Spenders?

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The Web site Bundle.com 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 Bundle.com, 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 Budle.com, 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 Bundle.com 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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