The Top 20 Cities With The Most Consumer Debt

Monday, May 17, 2010, 1:39 AM | 1 Comment

Experian, the credit rating agency, on May 13 2010, released a list of 20 cities where their residents carry the most personal debt as of March 2010.

To come up with its list of 20 cities, the agency took a statistical sampling of customers from its credit rating database in each metropolitan area.

Researchers then calculated averages based on a snapshot of what consumers owed on their credit card bills and installment loans in March.

The study included debt from credit cards, auto loans and personal loans but not real estate mortgages.

Nationally, the debt average was $24,775 per person, or $1,890 higher than it was three years ago. Seattle ranked No. 1 as the “most debt-burdened city,” with an average per-consumer tally of $26,646 – or almost $2,000 above the national average. Los Angeles had the lowest debt among the rankings ($24,009).

A complete list of the 20 cities with the most average consumer debt:

  1. Seattle $26,646
  2. Dallas $26,599
  3. Denver $26,428
  4. Atlanta $26,063
  5. Phoenix $26,035
  6. Houston $25,790
  7. Washington, D.C. $25,702
  8. Tampa $25,603
  9. Philadelphia $25,544
  10. Orlando $25,316
  11. Minneapolis $25,115
  12. Detroit $24,995
  13. Sacramento $24,826
  14. Chicago $24,781
  15. Boston $24,670
  16. Cleveland $24,669
  17. New York $24,444
  18. San Francisco $24,429
  19. Miami $24,334
  20. Los Angeles $24,009

Experian offered the following tips for managing debt. It’s direct from the horse’s mouth, so we must listen up:

  • Pay bills on time. If you have an overdue bill, an unpaid debt or a tax lien, pay it off.
  • Set up a budget and live within it. In the age of self-help and empowerment, managing your finances should top your list.
  • Use your credit cards responsibly to demonstrate that you can manage credit well, but keep balances low on all of your cards and revolving credit.
  • Review your credit report 60 to 90 days before making a major purchase. Do not open or close accounts, but concentrate on paying down balances.
  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around. Also, do not close unused cards as a short-term strategy to improve your credit score. Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your utilization ratios and your credit scores.

In a Nutshell
Though some recent data from the Federal Reserve show consumers have been cutting down on their credit card debt, the Experian study indicates many are still struggling with it amid high unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery, some experts said.

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