Managing Debt

10 States With the Biggest Debt Load

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As the recession recovery finally sets in for many Americans, debt management is at the top of their financial to-do list. However, there are still many areas with lots of personal debt.

A recent analysis of data provided to Credit.com from Experian shows that most states have a revolving debt load of about $25,o00, with only a few outliers. Keep in mind that having a lot of debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it is managed properly.

Our data set relies on the average revolving debt per person in each state from May 2012. Revolving debt is all credit card debt and personal loan debt held by residents, so mortgages are not included in these numbers. Take a look at our list of the 10 states with the biggest debt burdens.

10. Washington

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,020

Washington just barely beat out Arizona to make our list, but the state is one of the best when it comes to the average VantageScore. It has the 10th highest VantageScore in the country, tying with Hawaii at 772.

9. Vermont

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,059

Vermont has the highest average VantageScore of any of the states on our list, coming into the fourth spot according to the most recent data from Experian. That high score suggests Vermont residents are managing their debt well, they just happen to have large amounts of it.

Check Your Credit For Free8. Texas

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,079

It may not only be revolving debt that is plaguing the heart of Texas. A recent survey found that Texas ranked with Alaska and Wyoming as having the highest average auto loan debt, at $19,096 per person. Texas also has the lowest VantageScore of any of the states on our list at 724.

7. Oklahoma

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,167

The Census Bureau publishes some great facts about each state after each survey. One of the most disturbing facts from the most recent fact sheet, however, shows that the average revolving debt per person (calculated by Experian) is about $3,000 more than the per capita income of $23,094.

6. Virginia

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,206

Virginia has five counties that ranked in a recent look at the richest counties in America, so residents probably aren’t struggling in paying off the sixth highest debt load per person. The state also has a median household income that’s a full $10,000 above the national average.

5. Maryland

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,374

If you thought Virginia had it good, then Maryland is doing just as well. Maryland also has five counties on the list of the richest counties in America,

4. Colorado

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,424

A recent Kiplinger story found Colorado’s capital to be a top place to live for young adults, with lots of major employers and affordable rents. But Colorado’s average revolving debt load is pretty large, despite having an average VantageScore in the top 20 states.

3. South Dakota

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,736

The state may have a tiny population, but it’s the home to a lot of credit card offers, which could be the cause of its high revolving debt number. A Marketplace story highlighted the town of Sioux Falls as “credit-card central.”

2. Wyoming

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $26,779

Another mountain region state, Wyoming has one of the lowest populations of the states on our list. But that didn’t stop it from coming in a distant second to Alaska. However, there has been some debate about whether Wyoming even went through a recession. It might be why residents are more apt to take on revolving debt.

1. Alaska

Ave. Revolving Debt Per Person: $30,375

The biggest standout on our list, Alaska is the only state to crack the $30,000 mark and it is far and away the state with the biggest average debt load.

What’s interesting about Alaska’s top ranking is that even though it has the most revolving debt per person, it doesn’t have the worst VantageScore, coming in right around the middle of the pack at 758. This suggests Alaskans aren’t necessarily mismanaging their debt, since their average score isn’t rock bottom.

Image: Steve A Johnson, via Flickr

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