Given the Granite State’s reputation as a stalwart of Yankee frugality, a recent bit of reporting from investor blog Wall Street 24/7 caught us a bit by surprise. The blog quoted a report by credit education site CreditKarma.com. The site mined data from more than 300,000 users to get a bead on the country’s personal debt situation. Charles B. Stockdale writes:
“One of the driving factors for states whose residents owe the most in credit card debt is that they are wealthy states. Nine out of the 10 states with the most in credit card debt have among the highest median household incomes. Alternatively, six of the 10 states with the smallest amounts of credit card debt have among the lowest median incomes…
Many high-debt states also have high costs of living relative to other states….When people must pay more for consumer goods, they often end up with larger amounts of debt. The opposite case is also true. States whose residents pay less for goods have less debt…
Corresponding with wealth, many of the states with high levels of debt have above-average credit scores.”
StateImpact took the data Wall Street 24/7 published on the five states with the highest and lowest credit card debt, and put it in table form for easy comparison. For its part, New Hampshire pretty much fits the mold of a high-cost, high-income, high-credit score state…with levels of debt to match.
States With Highest Credit Card Debt
[spreadsheet key=”0Atb_8tUjelW6dGQ2bmVsMkE3UzlFRmpENDk1R2VuR2c” source=”Credit Karma via Wall Street 24/7″ sheet=0 filter=0 paginate=0 sortable=1]
States With Lowest Credit Card Debt
[spreadsheet key=”0Atb_8tUjelW6dDhLQ3ZUd2RlMXBidmE4VXhJX3lTWlE” source=”Credit Karma via Wall Street 24/7″ sheet=0 filter=0 paginate=0 sortable=1]
Putting all of this into a broader national context, CNN Money reports:
“Consumers whacked down credit card debt by 11% last year, and average debt loads dropped in every state.
The average credit card balance for 2011 was $6,576, down from $7,404 the previous year, according to a report from credit tracking and financial education website CreditKarma.com…
The decline came as weak consumer confidence kept spending in check and banks continued to tighten their lending and slash credit limits for many existing customers, said Ken Lin, CEO of Credit Karma.
Credit card debt had eased in 2010 as well, slipping 7% during the year.
The positive trend may not last for long, however. As the economy continues to rebound, Lin said debt is likely to rebound with it, adding that banks have recently started loosening credit requirements again.
‘I believe we are just about at the bottom of the debt trend,’ said Lin.”