American Debt Rises in 2017: Mortgage Debt Biggest Burden

Mortgage Debt Biggest Contributor to Overall American Debt

Despite feeling burdened, Americans are continuing to rake in more and more debt. American debt has soared to Great Recession levels this year, hitting a whopping $13.0 trillion. 

While not every single American may be in debt, the majority is. The latest study carried out by GoBankingRates has found that an average American is shouldering a debt load of about $63,000.  

Although, nearly every American today owns a credit card, credit card debt is not the biggest debt burden Americans are carrying. The study has found that mortgage debt is, in fact, the biggest form of American debt burdening the nation, surpassing credit card debt.

The survey carried out by GoBankingRates has found that about 65% of Americans have borrowed a mortgage loan. By contrast, about 50% of Americans said they owed credit card debt. 


The survey’s findings coincide with the Federal Reserve’s statistics on U.S. household debt, according to which mortgage debt makes up the highest proportion of the total American household debt. The majority of the survey respondents said they owed between $150,000 and $200,000 on their mortgage loans.

Survey Reveals Interesting Insights on American Debt

In addition to mortgage and credit card debt, three other debt forms have a significant burden on Americans. About one-third of Americans, or about 32%, owe auto loan debt. Likewise, one in four Americans, or about 25%, say they have student loans to repay. Student debt alone makes up a staggering $1.3 trillion of American debt, and is one of the major reasons affecting the financial and personal decisions of most Americans. 

Medical debt relatively burdens fewer Americans today, with about 21% carrying medical debt. However, medical debt is repeatedly cited as a major cause of personal bankruptcies in America. 

The study also broke down results state-wise. Americans in Hawaii carry the highest average debt load–a whopping $869,250. Maryland follows Hawaii with the average debt burden of $284,851. Texas, Oklahoma and Indiana land the third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively.

In terms of demographics, the study found that American men on average owed three times more debt than women. It was also found that older Americans belonging to the Generation X–aged between 45 and 54–on average owed the most debt. They are followed by baby boomers and younger Generation Xers. American Millennials owe much less than their older generations.

Overall, the study concludes that American debt is continuing to rise in 2017, setting new records each passing day.


Americans’ Debt Has Risen in 2017,” GoBankingRates, October 23, 2017.

Here’s How Much Debt Americans Have in 2017,” GoBankingRates, October 23, 2017.


Categories: Economic Report, News