Despite recent declines, U.S. household debt is still very high relative to disposable income
November 21, 2014
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In recent decades, many Americans have spent more than they earned. Even during booming economic years, American households have accumulated rising levels of debt. Since the 1980s, household debt has steadily grown — it grew from 65 percent of disposable income in 1982 to 105 percent in 2013. With easy access to credit, lax mortgage policies, and rising costs for a college education, debt has become a norm in American households. Americans now own over 1 billion credit cards. Even young people are often indebted from an early age. For example, over 40 percent of all 25-year-olds held student loans at the end of 2012.

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