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Debt growth in America: The facts

Debt has not always been a major part of the American identity, but in 2017, it certainly was. American's total credit card debt grew substantially in 2017, reaching $931 billion, estimates confirm. That's around 7 percent higher than in previous years.

Households carrying debt tend to have around $15,983 in debt on credit cards, while homes with mortgages and other debts usually have an average of $133,568. It's an unfortunate truth, but spending has outpaced increases in income in many different sectors, making it harder to live comfortably on less.

The good news is that household income growth is starting to catch up. Much of the growth in credit debt is also attributed to unnecessary spending, a habit that Americans could cut back on if they suddenly found themselves needing to pay down their balances.

On credit cards, the average owed in an household is $15,983 and $931 billion on average for the nation. Mortgages are $178,037 on average accounting for $8.88 trillion in debt nationwide. Overall, the United States consumers have around $13.15 trillion in debt, with auto loans, student loans and mortgages making up the most of them.

The median annual income has risen by around 20 percent in the last decade, which is good news when you consider the 18 percent increase in the total cost of living. Medical care, food and housing have grown faster than income, though, making it harder to obtain these items at the same wages as in the past. This is something that needs to be addressed, especially with some Americans finding themselves struggling with debt.

Source: NerdWallet, "2017 American Household Credit Card Debt Study," Erin El Issa, accessed June 01, 2018

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