Despite recent declines, U.S. household debt is still very high relative to disposable income
November 21, 2014

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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Related Charts:

Median Male Income Growth 1955-2010
Shares of Income, 1980 & 2009
The Aging of the U.S. Population
International Debt Comparison
Economic Output, 2000-2022


Peter G. Peterson Foundation Chart Pack:

The PGPF chart pack illustrates that budget-making involves many competing priorities, limited resources, and complex issues. In this set of charts, we aim to frame the financial condition and fiscal outlook of the U.S. government within a broad economic, political, and demographic context.
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