Which Cities Have The Highest/Lowest Credit Card Debt Burden?

The average amount of credit card debt varies quite a bit from city to city, as does the ability of consumers to pay down that debt in a timely manner. A new study claims to show that the cities with the least amount of credit card debt burden aren’t necessarily the cities with the least amount of debt.

The folks at CreditCards.com took a look at credit card debt in the top 25 U.S. markets. In addition to considering the average amount owed by consumers in these cities, the study took into account how much people earned in each market.

So while the San Francisco/Oakland area has an average credit card debt ($4,393) that is just shy of the national average ($4,410), it’s median yearly income for people over the age of 16 ($44,491) was high compared to most other markets.

Figuring an average annual interest rate of 13% and monthly payments equal to 15% of the median income, the study calculated that San Francisco-area residents could pay off their balance in only nine months — the best of all 25 markets.

The market with the most credit card debt was Washington, D.C. ($5,046), but the earnings figure of $45,909 means those in our nation’s capital have the ability to get rid of that debt in just ten months.

Meanwhile, residents in the Riverside, CA, market had the lowest average credit card debt ($4,137), but also the second-lowest median income ($28,218), meaning they would need 13 months to pay off their cards. That puts Riverside in the middle of the pack at #15.

San Antonio had the lowest median earnings ($27,491), and significantly more credit card debt ($4,880). At 16 months needed to pay off their cards, these Texans had the most debt burden in the study.

In terms of regional trends, the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast — with its higher income figures — fared best overall. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., and Baltimore all placed among the top ten markets.

California’s results reflected the disparate income and debt levels throughout the massive state. San Francisco was the top of the list, and Sacramento also cracked the top ten. But the rest of state fared worse, like Riverside (#15), Los Angeles (#17), and San Diego (#20).

Texas dominated the bottom portion of the survey. In addition to San Antonio’s 25th-place ranking, there was Dallas (#24), and Houston (#21).