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Study:
Consumer debt growing in some American urban centers

A recent Credit Trends study by credit reporting company (CRC) Experian analyzed current personal debt levels and credit scores for residents of the 20 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. Of the cities examined, Detroit residents had the lowest average debt ($23,604), while Dallas residents had the highest ($28,240).

The study also compared the current debt levels to those of four years ago and found that Detroit had decreased its average personal debt by 7.1 percent, while Dallas’s average personal debt amount increased 7.8 percent since 2010.

San Diego residents had the highest rise in average personal debt, an 11 percent increase from $23,797 in 2010 to $26,423 in 2014. Nationwide, average debt increased 5 percent to $25,927, compared with $24,678 four years ago.

In terms of credit scores, the study found:

Below is a list of the 20 most populous U.S. cities and their average personal debt levels and credit scores, ranked in increasing order by average debt level:

20 Most Populous U.S. Cities, ranked from lowest to highest debt 

Metropolitan
statistical area

Average debt per consumer

Average
VantageScore® 3.0
credit score

1.       Detroit

$23,604

667

2.       Los Angeles

$24,361

658

3.       Miami

$24,884

648

4.       New York

$25,396

678

5.       Boston

$25, 413

694

6.       Tampa, Fla.

$25,537

658

7.       Minneapolis, Minn.

$25,626

702

8.       San Francisco, Calif.

$25,828

689

9.       Philadelphia, Pa.

$26,128

672

10.   San Diego, Calif.

$26,423

666

11.   Chicago, Ill.

$26,429

670

12.   St. Louis, Mo.

$26,721

673

13.   Atlanta, Ga.

$26,940

646

14.   Denver, Colo.

$27,090

675

15.   Phoenix, Ariz.

$27,267

654

16.   Baltimore

$27,271

662

17.   Seattle

$27,279

679

18.   Washington, D.C.

$27,668

674

19.   Houston

$28,105

648

20.   Dallas

$28,240

648

Analysis methodology 

The analysis is based on a statistically relevant sampling of depersonalized data from Experian’s consumer credit database from February 2014 and September 2010. The VantageScore 3.0 credit scoring model was the credit score used in this study. The VantageScore 3.0 model’s range is 300-850. For purposes of the study, “average debt” refers to all credit card accounts, auto loans and personal loans/student loans.

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