20 Metro Areas With the Worst Credit Card Debt ProblemsAmerican families are still struggling to dig out from under credit card debt, and a new study from credit reporting agency Equifax (EFX) says that households in some metropolitan areas owe as much as 17% of their income to credit card companies.

According to Equifax, many households in parts of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington and California are having a particularly difficult time dealing with credit card debt. The company ranked the top 50 metropolitan statistical areas hardest hit by credit card debt, and the majority of the worst performing areas were located in those states.

Consumers located in the metropolitan areas on Equifax's list were more likely to spend a higher percentage of their income on credit card payments than households elsewhere. The percentage of debt owed ranged from a high of 17.26% for the average household in Wilmington, N.C., to a "low" of 12.80% in the Reno/Sparks, Nev., area. The 20 metropolitan statistical areas with the highest percentage of their income owed in credit card debt were:

  1. Wilmington, N.C.: median income $42,392; $7,315 owed in credit card debt (17.26%)
  2. Canton/Massillon, Ohio: median income $40,912; $7,050 owed in credit card debt (17.23%)
  3. Toledo, Ohio: median income $44,349; $7,414 owed in credit card debt (16.72%)
  4. Duluth, Minnn./Wis.: median income $38,392; $6,418 owed in credit card debt (16.72%)
  5. El Paso, Texas: median income $33,126; $5,349 owed in credit card debt (16.15%)
  6. Asheville, N.C.: median income $39,884; $6,431 owed in credit card debt (16.12%)
  7. Pensacola/Ferry Pass/Brent, Fla.: median income $42,106; $6,649 owed in credit card debt (15.79%)
  8. Youngstown/Warren/Boardman, Ohio/Pa.: median income $39,304; $6,142 owed in credit card debt (15.63%)
  9. Fayetteville, N.C.: median income $42,506; $6,519 owed in credit card debt (15.34%)
  10. Winston/Salem, N.C.: median income $42,869; $6,505 owed in credit card debt (15.17%)
  11. Gainesville, Fla.: median income $38,572; $5,817 owed in credit card debt (15.08%)
  12. Spokane, Wash.: median income $42,191; $6,351 owed in credit card debt (15.05%)
  13. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla.: median income $42,354; $6,373 owed in credit card debt (15.05%)
  14. Bremerton/Silverdale, Wash.: median income $54,417; $7,916 owed in credit card debt (14.55%)
  15. Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton, N.C.: median income $37,623; $5,416 owed in credit card debt (14.39%)
  16. North Port/Bradenton/Sarasota, Fla.: median income $45,000; $6,429 owed in credit card debt (14.29%)
  17. Cleveland/Elyria/Mentor, Ohio: median income $47,186; $6,729 owed in credit card debt (14.26%)
  18. Greensboro/High Point, N.C.: median income $41,080; $5,771 owed in credit card debt (14.05%)
  19. San Antonio/New Braunfels, Texas: median income $ 44,113; $ 6,167 owed in credit card debt (13.98%)
  20. Knoxville, Tenn.: median income $37,269; $5,178 owed in credit card debt (13.89%)

While total consumer debt, which includes mortgages, auto loans and credit card debt, has declined 8.2% from its peak of $11.5 trillion in 2008, this survey shows that debt issues continue to linger in certain pockets of the country.

"The good news is we're seeing Americans paying off their debts and becoming more fiscally fit," says Dianne Bernez, Equifax's senior vice president for corporate communications. "However, the numbers show that while people's intentions are good, Americans still have a lot of debt to tackle."


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Vinny

The ONLY solution is not to use a credit card if you can't make the re-payments. Its easy to charge items on a card but waiting to pay cash is the best way to go. It may mean that you miss out on some 'bargains' but one has to be aware of the cost of running up a bill on a credit card. Debit cards are even worse if you use the 'overdraft' feature pushed by the banks. Suntrust Bank charges $36 for an overdraft of even $1 then if the overdraft isn't paid back in three days they tag on another $35 for 'late payment' of the overdraft. Avoid the over draft option like the plague. So a $1 overdraft costs you $72 if its not repaid within 3 days. NEVER trust any bank because they are waiting for a chance to screw their customers like no other business. A pre-paid card is the best in my opinion because its limit is the amount you have pre-paid. That help put a damper on spontaneous buying because one knows that spending on anything immediately reduces the remaining balance that isn't open ended like most credit cards.

March 04 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
daveswrath0704

the reason credit card are use so much in the south is the pay is so low here at one time living was cheap here but everthing has went up but the pay stay the same here in the south the pay about 20 years behind the rest of the country company keep the profit and not pay wellto few job so they have people under there foot.

January 27 2011 at 6:56 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply