Pushing the Limit

    During the past few years, the United States has experienced an unprecedented boom in household debt. Although most household debt is in the form of mortgages and home equity lines, credit card debt deserves particular attention. The reason: credit card debt tends to carry high interest rates, large fees and a number of hidden costs, all of which weigh disproportionately on lower income families.

    Our research discovered a number of disconcerting trends that are detailed in the full report. Among them are:

    • Credit card debt is more widespread, with a larger share of families than ever before carrying credit card balances;
    • Credit card debt levels relative to income are highest among low-income families;
    • Credit card debt is growing particularly among low- and moderate-income families; and
    • Delinquency rates are greater for families with high levels of credit card debt than for families with high levels of overall debt.

    For a detailed analysis of these and other credit card debt trends, please read our full report:

    Dr. Christian Weller is a Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress, where he specializes in Social Security and retirement income, macroeconomics, the Federal Reserve, and international finance.