15 States With the Most Credit Card Debt

Woman with a lot of credit card debt
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Self.

Credit card debt in the U.S. had been on the rise for eight straight years until the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and subsequent relief efforts suddenly reversed the trend.

The combination of a severe slowdown in consumer spending, a suspension of student loan payments, moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, multiple stimulus checks, and advance payments of child tax credits have filled residents’ pockets with unexpected but much-needed cash, and many Americans have used that money to pay down their credit card balances.

The same forces have also reduced credit utilization and late payments. Total U.S. credit card debt dropped from a peak of $930 billion in the final quarter of 2019 to $770 billion in the first quarter of 2021, and the rate of cardholders who transitioned into serious delinquency plummeted even more from 5.32% to 3.78% over the same period, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

To determine which states have the nation’s most credit card debt, researchers at Self analyzed data from the New York Fed, Experian, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. States were then ranked by the percentage of credit card debt that was severely delinquent (90 days or more) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Overall, states with higher credit card delinquency rates were more likely to report higher rates of unemployment and lower average credit scores than states with lower delinquency rates.

Here are the states with the most credit card debt.

15. Delaware

New Jersey from Delaware
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.06%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,110
Average credit score: 710
Median household income: $70,176
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 7.8%

14. North Carolina

Charlotte North Carolina
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.08%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,810
Average credit score: 703
Median household income: $57,341
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 7.3%

13. Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.14%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,330
Average credit score: 686
Median household income: $51,734
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 5.9%

12. Louisiana

Homes in New Orleans, Louisiana
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.34%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,430
Average credit score: 684
Median household income: $51,073
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 8.3%

11. Georgia

Kennesaw, Georgia
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.52%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,110
Average credit score: 689
Median household income: $61,980
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 6.5%

10. Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.66%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,080
Average credit score: 675
Median household income: $45,792
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 8.1%

9. New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Credit card delinquency rate: 9.81%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,510
Average credit score: 694
Median household income: $51,945
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 8.4%

8. New York

New York City coastline
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Credit card delinquency rate: 10.35%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,410
Average credit score: 718
Median household income: $72,108
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 10.0%

7. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Credit card delinquency rate: 10.36%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,450
Average credit score: 690
Median household income: $54,449
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 6.1%

6. California

Santa Ana, California
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Credit card delinquency rate: 10.41%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,230
Average credit score: 716
Median household income: $80,440
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 10.1%

5. Texas

Fort Worth Texas
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Credit card delinquency rate: 10.49%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,080
Average credit score: 688
Median household income: $64,034
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 7.6%

4. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas
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Credit card delinquency rate: 10.74%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $2,300
Average credit score: 690
Median household income: $48,952
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 6.1%

3. Arizona

Tempe Arizona
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Credit card delinquency rate: 10.93%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,030
Average credit score: 706
Median household income: $62,055
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 7.9%

2. Florida

Pensacola Florida
Matt Buikema / Shutterstock.com

Credit card delinquency rate: 11.94%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,340
Average credit score: 701
Median household income: $59,227
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 7.7%

1. Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

Credit card delinquency rate: 13.32%
Credit card debt balance per capita: $3,220
Average credit score: 695
Median household income: $63,276
Unemployment rate (2020 average): 12.8%

Methodology

A man studies financial data at his computer
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The data used in this analysis is from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report, Experian’s 2020 Consumer Credit Review, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

To determine the states with the most credit card debt, researchers ranked states based on the percentage of credit card debt balance 90+ days delinquent in Q4 of 2020. In the event of a tie, total credit card debt per capita was considered.

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