As we mentioned in our previous post, credit card debt remains high for the average American. A recent report in the Washington Post, however, shows that the average credit card debt varies wildly from state to state. The national average is $4,965 of debt among people who carry a balance on their cards. In some states, however, borrowers tend to carry much more, and in others people tend to carry less. Unfortunately for Washington residents, our state stands near the top of the list; by far the most indebted state in the region.
Washington residents owe an average of $5,269 in credit card debt, $500 to $700 higher than the amounts owed by neighboring states. Among states west of the Appalachians, only Colorado and Alaska have higher levels of debt.
Those who shoulder such heavy loads of debt can often find themselves in a spiral of debt that is difficult to escape. The interest rate on credit cards is often extremely high, especially if payments have been missed in the past. As a result, borrowers find themselves paying for interest costs rather than paying down capital. People in this situation can have a very tough time climbing back out of debt.
Washington residents can at least be grateful they do not carry debt in Alaska. Alaskans tend to carry extremely high levels of debt, an average of nearly $7,000. Nine of the next ten most indebted states are on the East Coast. The Great Plains are home to our nation's least indebted states; Iowa carries the lowest amount with $3,885 per borrower.
Source: The Washington Post, "Ranking the states: Credit card debt" Reid Wilson, Aug. 20, 2013