Experian Ranks Top 20 Major U.S. Metropolitan Areas By Average Debt Per Consumer

Seattle leads with the highest debt, but its residents are managing credit well

Experian Ranks Top 20 Major U.S. Metropolitan Areas By Average Debt Per Consumer

Seattle leads with the highest debt, but its residents are managing credit well

Costa Mesa, Calif., May 13, 2010 — Experian®, the global information services company, released its findings today on average debt* per consumer in the top 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas. Approximately 65 percent of these areas exceeded the national average consumer debt, which was $24,775 in March.

Within the top 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas, Seattle is the most debt-burdened city, coming in at almost $2,000 above the national average debt per consumer, while Los Angeles has the lowest average debt.

Metropolitan areas

Average debt per consumer

1. Seattle


2. Dallas


3. Denver


4. Atlanta


5. Phoenix


6. Houston


7. Washington, D.C.


8. Tampa


9. Philadelphia


10. Orlando


11. Minneapolis


12. Detroit


13. Sacramento


14. Chicago


15. Boston


16. Cleveland


17. New York


18. San Francisco


19. Miami


20. Los Angeles


“It’s important to look at the whole picture when evaluating how consumers are actually managing their credit,” said Maxine Sweet, vice president, public education, Experian. “Seattle ranks the highest in terms of average debt per consumer. However, additional data shows that Seattle’s consumers have very few late payments and are not maxing out their credit cards, so they are using their credit wisely and maintaining higher credit scores.” 

Below are some tips for consumers on how to better manage their debt:

  • Pay your 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.

For more information on managing credit, visit http://www.experian.com/crediteducation.

The data was pulled and analyzed by Experian Decision Sciences using a statistically relevant sampling of Experian’s File OneSM consumer credit database. Credit files analyzed had all personal identification information removed. They then were filtered through Premier AttributesSM, the credit industry’s most robust, accurate and comprehensive set of credit attributes that provides consumer data at the most granular level, facilitating enhanced modeling opportunities. Experian’s credit study data score averages are based on VantageScore®.

Kristine Snyder
Experian Public Relations
1 714 830 5192 Telephone
kristine.snyder@experian.com Email

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 65 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2009, was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.

Experian and the marks used herein are service marks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

VantageScore® is owned by VantageScore Solutions, LLC.