Press Release
New York Fed Releases New Report, Web Page on Household Credit Conditions in U.S., Select States Showing Decline in Consumer Indebtedness
August 17, 2010
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today announced the release of a new Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit and an accompanying web page.  The report shows that households steadily reduced aggregate consumer indebtedness over the past seven quarters.  In the second quarter of 2010, they owed 6.4 percent less than they did in 2008, the peak year for indebtedness.

Additionally, for the first time since early 2006, the share of total household debt in some stage of delinquency declined, from 11.9 percent to 11.2 percent. However, the number of people with a new bankruptcy noted on their credit reports rose 34 percent during the second quarter, considerably higher than the 20 percent increase typical of the second quarter in recent years.  

In addition, the data for selected states reveal substantial regional variations in debt and credit patterns:

  • Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada all show markedly higher delinquency and foreclosure rates than average;
  • Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate, with 0.7 percent of consumers receiving a new foreclosure notation on their credit report during the second quarter of 2010; Arizona is the next-highest, with 0.6 percent of consumers with new foreclosure notations;
  • Total consumer indebtedness is highest in California and Nevada, where average per capita debt balances are $78,000 and $73,000, respectively, compared with $49,000 nationally; and  
  • Households in states with the highest debt burdens have seen the strongest declines in their balances.

"Major declines in house prices and the continuing high level of unemployment are reflected in the various measures of household debt and credit. However, the national measures obscure substantive differences at the state level and the additional data released today show clear differences of distress among the select states for which we show data," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, vice president in the Research and Statistics Group at the New York Fed. “By providing greater access to these data, we hope stakeholders will be better equipped to assist distressed households in their communities.”

This information is aimed at helping community groups, small businesses, state and local government agencies and the public better understand, monitor and respond to trends in borrowing and indebtedness at the household level.

The household debt and credit data will be updated quarterly and includes such categories as the number of bankruptcies, per capita debt levels, total debt levels and composition of debt, new originations of installment loans, total balance by delinquency status, foreclosures and new delinquencies by loan type for the United States and select states. The report and web page information are based on a nationally representative random sample drawn from data provided by the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel. Sections of the report are presented as interactive graphs on the New York Fed’s Credit Conditions web page, and the full report is available for download.

The next quarterly reports are expected to be released on November 8, 2010, February 14, 2011, May 9, 2011 and August 8, 2011.

About the U.S. Credit Conditions section
The U.S. Credit Conditions section of the New York Fed’s website offers interactive maps, as well as data on major forms of household credit such as installment loans, auto and student loan delinquencies, foreclosures, mortgage delinquencies and mortgage “roll” rates for subprime and alt-A mortgages. Data are updated on a regular basis.

The data were acquired to improve the Federal Reserve System’s ability to monitor and respond to regional and national credit conditions in American households and will also be used for fundamental research on these topics.

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