New Yorkers Hit All-Time Highs For household Debt Levels

A study released by New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows household debt levels in the state and country are now at all-time highs.

New Yorkers amassed $869.4 billion in debt through the end of last year, according to DiNapoli’s study, based on data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That’s 5.6% of the national household debt of $15.6 trillion, and only California, Texas, and Florida – the three states with higher population totals than New York – have a larger share.

And while the state’s per capita debt of $53,830 is nearly $2,000 lower than the national average and the 57% debt ratio is well under the 73% average, the report does not paint a great picture for New York.

DiNapoli’s report notes household debts now exceed the records set 14 years ago during the great recession. In addition, early data from 2022, when inflation began reaching 40-year highs, shows household debts continue to rise.

The makeup of New Yorkers’ debt is also different from the average state. The share of debt tied to mortgages and car loans is lower than the national average, and credit card debt makes up 7% of the debt, compared to 5.5% of the national average.

“While per capita consumer debt is lower in New York than the nation and many peer states, the composite picture indicates debt poses a financial burden to, or demonstrates the financial insecurity of, some households,” the report states.

DiNapoli noted that since credit card debt usually carries higher interest rates, it’s a significant concern. The per capita credit card debt for 2021 was $3,520, but in the fourth quarter of that year, the per capita figure was $3,760.

In addition, credit card debt has surpassed the national average every year in New York since 2014, and of New York’s peer states, only Florida has a higher growth rate.

The report is part of an ongoing initiative in DiNapoli’s office to improve financial literacy statewide. Three years ago, he signed an executive order citing the need for New Yorkers to receive more resources to help them with their finances.

“Borrowing can help individuals achieve their personal and financial goals, but high levels of debt can cause damaging long-term consequences,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “I urge policymakers to improve access for individuals and families to financial education resources, so they are better prepared to build a stronger financial future.”


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