Clark Howard

Report: Here are the cities with the most credit card debt

Most people do all they can to pay their bills on time and be good stewards of their financial lives, but even with the best-made plans, setbacks sometimes occur. So it is with credit card debt, which, as we've written recently, is at an all-time high.

But what does this debt look like across some of the nation's largest metropolitan areas? Are there some regions prone to higher credit card balances?  A recent survey by lists the cities with the highest debt burden.

The numbers, which come from credit report data accumulated throughout 2017 by Experian, show a number of things, including that “some segments of the demographic do tend to hold higher debt levels than others,” Robert A. Dye, chief economist at Comerica Bank, is quoted as saying. “There are historical and cultural reasons for that.”

Here are the U.S. cities with the highest credit card balances

The data looked at four key areas involving credit card debt. The analysis shows that a city such as Detroit, which came in at #17 in highest incomes, was #2 among metro areas with the lowest credit card balance ($5,889). Motown also was #4 in the amount of interest paid.

San Antonio came in dead last in the amount of time it takes its residents to pay off credit card debt on average: 22 months. And Texas had three of the five most debt-laden cities on the list, the result of a youthful population and “energy downturn,” the report said.

Here are the 25 metropolitan areas with the most credit card debt:

Metropolitan Area
Average credit card debt  
Months to pay off balance
Washington D.C. $7,442 14
Dallas-Fort Worth $7,171 19
New York $7,145 17
Houston $7,121 20
San Antonio $7,070 22
Baltimore $6,985 15
Atlanta $6,907 19
San Diego $6,848 19
Seattle-Tacoma $6,729 15
Denver $6,720 16
Philadelphia $6,693 16
Chicago $6,649 17
Los Angeles $6,632 20
Miami-Fort Lauderdale $6,615 21
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose $6,533 13
Boston $6,455 14
Phoenix $6,422 18
Charlotte $6,296 18
Tampa-St. Petersburg $6,204 18
St. Louis $6,203 17
Portland, OR $6,120 17
Minneapolis-St. Paul $6,036 14
Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne $5,984 19
Detroit $5,889 17
Riverside-San Bernadino $5,829 19

One thing that stands out in the numbers is that each city has a specific characteristic that explains its place on the list, from higher incomes to older demographics and economies. The best way to not become a statistic though is to come up with a plan to get out of debt.

Money expert Clark Howard and team have devised a way to help you get your finances back in the black. A new Facebook group called Clark Your Debt has been set up to give you the encouragement and motivation you need to tackle those high balances.

When you sign up, you’ll join more than 3,000 others (and counting!) who are taking control of their financial lives and sharing what they know. Your pocketbook will thank you!

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