The average household debt in New York climbed to a new high of $53,830 at the end of 2021. While New Yorkers trail the national average debt burden ($55,810), student loan and credit card debt per capita were well above the national average, with student loan balances 335% higher than they were in 2003, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“Households across the nation have record levels of debt, after a temporary decline at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. We’re seeing debt rise for New Yorkers with student loans, mortgages and credit cards,” DiNapoli said. “Borrowing can help individuals achieve their personal and financial goals, but high levels of debt can cause damaging long-term consequences. I urge policymakers to improve access for individuals and families to financial education resources, so they are better prepared to build a stronger financial future.”
At the end of 2021, national household debt totaled $15.6 trillion with New York households accounting for $869.4 billion, or 5.6%, of the national total, ranking New York fourth in the nation after California, Texas and Florida. Debt has increased 4% nationally and 2% in New York in the first two quarters of 2022 and is now the highest on record, exceeding previous highs from 2008. For both New York and the nation, mortgage debt made up the vast majority of household debt, at $601.2 billion (69.2%) and $10.9 trillion (70.2%), respectively.
New York fares better than the nation and peer states (California, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania) on per capita consumer debt in relation to the average personal income level in the state. On that measure, New Yorkers have a debt ratio of 57% compared to 73% for the United States as a whole. However, DiNapoli’s report found per capita debt in New York differs in notable ways from the national profile: mortgages and auto loan debt are lower, while credit card and student loan debt are higher.
New York’s per capita credit card debt was $3,520 in 2021, seventh in the nation, and credit card balances were a larger share of per capita household debt in New York (7%) than nationally (5.5%). Credit card debt typically has substantially higher interest rates than other types of household debt and can be indicative of financial stress when used for routine expenses.
New York’s per capita student loan balance was $6,180 in 2021, 11th in the nation, representing growth of 335% from 2003. The high growth rate was less than the national average (432%) and peer states (448%). DiNapoli said President Biden’s new student loan forgiveness program should help New Yorkers struggling with student loan debt.
New York’s delinquency rate of 2.1% for consumer debt also exceeds the national average of 1.9%, but is lower than it was before the pandemic (3.8%). Credit card debt had the highest share of delinquent accounts at 8.9% in 2021. The delinquency rate of 0.9% for mortgage loans is highest in the peer group and nearly double the 0.5% national rate.
This report is a part of DiNapoli’s ongoing financial literacy initiative. In 2019, DiNapoli signed an executive order recognizing the need for more robust financial education in the state and providing New Yorkers with more tools to manage their finances. The report uses data on consumers with a credit report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to examine household debt in relation to the national average and large peer states.
Track state and local government spending at Open Book New York. Under State Comptroller DiNapoli’s open data initiative, search millions of state and local government financial records, track state contracts, and find commonly requested data.