Atlanta’s credit card debt is above the national average
As the recession drags on, Americans are being forced to make difficult choices. Facing continuing unemployment and stagnant home values, many people in Georgia are using what money they have to make mortgage, car loans, and student loan payments, often having little money at the end of the month to buy groceries and other necessities. Because of this, the average amount of credit card debt remains high in Atlanta and other cities throughout the country.
In the U.S., the average consumer had approximately $4,200 in credit card debt at the end of 2010. Although this is a decrease of four percent from the previous year, the fact that credit card debt remains so high is somewhat worrisome. Moreover, some households have credit card debt that is equal to 17 percent of their income. It is easy to see how such high levels of debt can quickly become unmanageable.
Many U.S. cities have average credit card debt levels that are above the national average. San Antonio, Texas, wins the dubious honor of having the highest average credit card debt, with almost $5,200 in average debt. Analysts speculate that this is because city residents hold primarily working-class jobs, which traditionally bring lower paychecks. Jacksonville, Florida ranks a close second, with $5,115 in average credit card debt. Analysts say that Florida’s ongoing mortgage and housing market issues are likely behind its high amount of debt.
Ranked third is Atlanta, where Georgians have an average credit card debt of $4,960. This is more than 15 percent higher than the national average. Analysts believe that Atlanta’s high unemployment rate, which is also above the national average, has a lot to do with its credit card debt. In addition, the Atlanta housing market has struggled to recover at the rates of other cities’ markets, which has likely caused the reliance on credit card use.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “5 U.S. Cities With The Most Credit Card Debt”, Rachel Brown, 18 April 2011