Personal Finance

American household debt reaches $17 trillion for first time

Household debt in America is now nearly $3 trillion more than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image of check and invoice

Americans are falling further into debt. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, household debt reached a record $17.05 trillion in the first quarter of 2023. 

The bank's report notes that the figure is now $2.9 trillion higher than at the end of 2019, prior to the pandemic. 

Americans carry most of their debt in mortgages. In the first quarter of 2023, they had more than $12 trillion in mortgage debt. 

Student loans were the second-leading contributor to debt in the first three months of the year. Americans are carrying $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, according to the report. 

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Auto loans were just behind student loans, with $1.56 million worth of debt. 

While not in the top three, credit card debt appears to be an increasing issue. In the first quarter of 2023, it grew by $145 billion, second only to the amount by which mortgage debt grew. Another concerning issue with credit card debt is the delinquency rate. According to the report, more than 4.5% of credit card bills were at least 90 days past due in the first quarter of the year. That's more than in any other category. 

People were less likely to fall behind on their mortgage or home equity line of credit to begin 2023. 

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