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Are 80% of Americans in debt?

It is a well-known fact that Americans love to spend money. From buying the latest gadgets to splurging on vacations, Americans strive for the best things in life. However, this tendency to live life king-sized often puts them in a precarious financial situation, characterized by mounting debt levels.

In recent times, there has been widespread speculation that as much as 80% of Americans are in debt. But, is that really the case? In this blog post, we will explore this topic in detail to help you understand whether this conjecture is based in reality or merely a myth.

A Broad Overview of Personal Debt in America

Before we delve into the specifics of whether 80% of Americans are in debt, let’s first try to understand the broader contours of personal debt in America.

According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the total personal debt in the United States stood at $14.96 trillion as on June 30, 2021. This includes all kinds of debt, such as mortgages, student loans, credit card balances, and auto loans. The good news is that this figure is nearly 1% below the all-time high of $15.02 trillion that was recorded in the first quarter of 2021.

However, the fact remains that personal debt in America has been on an upward trajectory for the last few years. As per data from Experian, the average American debt per adult is $58,604. This is a pretty sizeable amount and indicates that most Americans have some form of debt, whether big or small.

Debt by Age Group

Now that we have a broad understanding of personal debt in America, let’s dive into the specific debt levels of various age groups.

According to a survey by CNBC, the highest average debt is among Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1980). This age group had an average debt of $135,841 in 2020, with mortgages and credit card balances accounting for the bulk of their debt.

The second-highest average debt was reported by Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). Their average debt stood at $97,544, with mortgages and auto loans being the main contributors to their debt load.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) had an average debt of $84,000, with student loans being the predominant form of debt for this age group.

Debt by Income Levels

Apart from age, income levels also play a significant role in determining debt levels. As per a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, households with income levels below $40,000 had a median debt of $13,000 in 2019. Meanwhile, households with incomes between $40,000 and $100,000 had a median debt of $89,000, while those with incomes above $100,000 had a median debt of $180,000.


In conclusion, the belief that 80% of Americans are in debt may be an exaggeration, but it is clear that a vast majority of Americans do carry some form of personal debt. From mortgages to auto loans to credit card balances to student loans, there are several avenues through which Americans can incur debt. It is essential for individuals to be mindful of their spending habits and to strive to live within their means to avoid falling into a debt trap. Additionally, it’s important to take steps to manage and reduce existing debt levels to help secure a better financial future.


Are most US citizens in debt?

Debt has become a common issue among Americans, and many individuals are struggling to stay financially afloat. According to a recent survey by Experian, the average American holds a debt balance of $96,371, which includes credit card debt, personal loans, student loans, and mortgages. This data indicates that a significant number of individuals in the US are in debt.

Credit card debt is one of the most prevalent forms of debt in the country, with an average balance of $5,315 per cardholder. This means that most Americans rely on credit cards to make ends meet, leading to a cycle of debt that is hard to break. Personal loans are also a popular option for those seeking financial assistance, with an average balance of $16,940 per borrower. These loans are often used to consolidate debts, pay for unexpected expenses, or make home repairs but can result in higher interest rates and longer repayment terms.

Student loan debt is another major concern for many Americans, with an average balance of $38,792 per borrower. This debt can follow individuals for years after graduating, hindering their ability to save for a home or retirement. Mortgages are also a common source of debt, with an average balance of $208,185 per borrower.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the issue of debt in the US, with millions of individuals losing their jobs or experiencing reduced income. Many have turned to credit cards or personal loans to make ends meet, resulting in higher debt balances. While the government has provided some relief through stimulus payments and loan forbearance options, the long-term impact of debt remains a significant concern for many Americans.

It is clear that a sizable portion of the US population is drowning in debt. Credit card debt, personal loans, student loans, and mortgages are all contributing factors to this issue, resulting in long-term financial struggles for many individuals. While there are various options available to address this issue, including debt consolidation and debt settlement programs, it requires a careful approach to manage debt effectively.

What percentage of Americans are 100% debt free?

According to recent studies and research, the percentage of Americans who are 100% debt free is quite low. The sad reality is that fewer than one quarter of American households currently live without debt. This means that the vast majority of Americans are burdened by some form of debt, whether it be credit cards, student loans, mortgages, car loans, or other types of loans.

This situation has been exacerbated in recent years by the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people have lost their jobs or experienced reduced income, and many have had to resort to borrowing money to make ends meet. The result is that even more Americans are now living with high levels of debt.

Being in debt can have serious consequences for individuals and families. It can cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. It can also lead to damaged credit scores, which can make it difficult to obtain loans or credit cards in the future. On the other hand, being debt-free allows individuals to be more financially secure and have greater control over their finances.

If you are struggling with debt, there are a number of strategies that you can use to tackle it. These may include creating a budget and sticking to it, negotiating with creditors to lower interest rates or payments, consolidating debt into one lower interest rate loan, or seeking the help of a credit counselor or financial advisor.

While the percentage of Americans who are 100% debt-free may be low, it is important to remember that debt is not an insurmountable obstacle. With the right strategies and support, it is possible to overcome debt and achieve financial freedom.

Why is the US in such high debt?

The United States has long been known as a country with a significant amount of debt. There are several factors that have contributed to the accumulation of this debt, some of which date back several decades. One of the most significant factors that has led to the high level of debt is the United States’ involvement in several wars over the past 50 years.

In particular, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have proved to be incredibly costly to the United States government. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have lasted for over a decade and have cost the United States billions of dollars each year. In total, the wars have cost the United States an estimated $2.4 trillion, with much of that money going towards military operations, reconstruction efforts, and humanitarian aid in the affected countries.

Another factor that has contributed to the high level of debt in the United States is the 2008 financial crisis. The crisis, which was caused by a variety of factors including subprime lending practices and risky investments by major financial institutions, led to a significant economic downturn in the United States and around the world. In an effort to stimulate the economy and prevent a complete collapse, Congress passed several stimulus packages that cost trillions of dollars.

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has had a significant impact on the United States’ debt levels. In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus and support struggling businesses and individuals, the federal government passed a series of stimulus packages that cost trillions of dollars. These measures have helped to ease some of the economic pain caused by the pandemic, but they have also contributed to the country’s already high debt levels.

There are several factors that have contributed to the high level of debt in the United States. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all played a significant role in the accumulation of this debt. Moving forward, it will be important for policymakers to take steps to manage this debt and ensure that the country’s economic future remains strong.

Who is the US in debt to the most?

The United States has been running on a deficit budget for several years, which means it is spending more money than it generates in revenue. As a result, the country has accumulated a significant amount of debt, owed to both domestic and foreign investors. Among the countries that the US is in debt to, Japan holds the largest portion of the debt, with a staggering $1.1 trillion owed. This amount is followed closely by China, which owns $859 billion of US debt.

The third-largest holder of U.S. debt is the United Kingdom, which holds approximately $668 billion of US debt. It is worth noting that these figures are regularly changing, and the exact amount of debt that each country holds varies with time. Furthermore, the US Treasury Department keeps updating these figures regularly, so they can be tracked and monitored.

It is essential to understand that holding US debt can be beneficial for other countries since the US is considered a safe haven for investment. US Treasury bonds are regarded as a low-risk investment, with predictable rates of return. This safe investment is why many countries hold US debt, and they view it as a way to balance their own economies.

While the US owes foreign investors a significant amount of money, it is still not the largest holder of US debt. The largest holder of US debt is actually the Federal Reserve, which owns approximately $4 trillion of US debt. This figure includes the bonds purchased as part of the Quantitative Easing measures undertaken by the Federal Reserve during the 2008 financial crisis.

The US is in debt to several countries, with Japan, China, and the United Kingdom holding the most significant portions of that debt. However, with the ongoing changes in the global economy, these numbers are continually fluctuating, making it essential to keep a close eye on the situation.

Who is the largest percentage of the US debt owed to?

The US national debt is a term that refers to the amount of money owed by the federal government of the United States. The debt represents accumulated deficits that result from the government spending more money than it receives in revenue each year. As the debt continues to grow, many people wonder who the largest percentage of the US debt is owed to.

In general, the US national debt is held by two types of creditors: the public and the federal government. The public, which includes banks, foreign governments, individuals, and companies, holds about two-thirds of the US national debt. The remaining third is held by government accounts, including the Social Security trust fund.

The largest holder of intragovernmental debt is the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund, which holds about $2.7 trillion, or 38 percent of intragovernmental debt. This trust fund is intended to pay benefits to retired or disabled workers and their families. The trust fund invests its surplus funds in special-issue US Treasury securities, which are essentially IOUs that the government has promised to pay back with interest at a later date. Therefore, the government essentially owes a debt to the Social Security trust fund.

Next, the Federal Reserve holds about $2.3 trillion of the national debt as a result of its monetary policy operations. These holdings consist of US Treasury securities that the Federal Reserve has purchased in the open market as part of its efforts to stimulate economic growth.

China is often thought of as the largest foreign holder of US debt. While China does hold a significant amount of US debt, it is not the largest foreign creditor. According to the US Treasury Department, as of 2021, Japan holds the title of the largest foreign creditor with approximately $1.2 trillion of US Treasury securities. China is close behind with around $1.1 trillion in US debt holdings.

The largest percentage of the US debt is owed to the Social Security trust fund, which holds about 38 percent of intragovernmental debt. The foreign countries, including China and Japan, hold a smaller percentage of US debt, with Japan being the largest foreign creditor. It is important to note that incurring debt is a common practice for governments, and managing it effectively is key to maintaining the strength and stability of the US economy.