Special Report

States with the Highest (and Lowest) Credit Card Debt

States with the Highest Credit Card Debt

5. Colorado
> Credit card debt: $7,533
> Median household income: $54,046 (15th highest)
> Average credit score: 669 (11th highest)
> Cost of living: 19th highest

Colorado is not quite as wealthy as the other states with the highest average credit card debt. But it still has the 15th-highest median household income in the country. The cost of living in the state is comparable to the state’s median income. Despite the high level of debt, residents are generally living within their means, as exemplified by the state’s high average credit score.

4. New Jersey
> Credit card debt: $7,608
> Median household income: $67,681 (2nd highest)
> Average credit score: 679 (the highest)
> Cost of living: 6th highest

New Jersey has the sixth-highest cost of living in the country. Residents, though, have the money to spend and accumulate debt. With a median household income that is the second-highest in the country, it is not surprising that residents have racked up such a high average credit card debt. Despite the high debt levels, however, personal finances are managed well — the average credit score for New Jersey is the highest among all states.

3. Connecticut
> Credit card debt: $7,730
> Median household income: $64,032 (4th highest)
> Average credit score: 672 (9th highest)
> Cost of living: 4th highest

Connecticut is often recognized as one of the country’s wealthiest states. This is a well-earned reputation. The state has the fourth-highest median household income. The cost of living is also higher than that in all but three states. Residents, therefore, spend more than those in most other states. Average credit card debt is the third highest in the country, but not surprising, their credit scores are also high.

2. New Hampshire
> Credit card debt: $7,748
> Median household income: $61,042 (7th highest)
> Average credit score: 659 (19th highest)
> Cost of living: 10th highest

New Hampshire is another New England state with a high median household income and a high cost of living. Its median income is the seventh-highest in the country and cost of living is the 10th-highest. Residents of the “Live Free or Die” state use this affluence to manage the high costs, racking up the second highest rate of credit card debt.

1. Alaska
> Credit card debt: $7,937
> Median household income: $64,576 (3rd highest)
> Average credit score: 659 (21st highest)
> Cost of living: 2nd highest

Alaska is the third wealthiest state in the country by median household income. It is also the second most expensive state, due in large part to its distance from the continental U.S. Residents of the state had nearly $8,000 in average credit card debt as of December 2011. The average credit score in the state is not among the highest, but it is not exceptionally low either.

Charles B. Stockdale