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While much attention has been given to the need for consumers to pay down debt and build up savings, residents in all states still carry an average of more than $10,000 in debt, according to a recent analysis of consumer debt by CareOne Services Inc., one of the nation's leading debt relief firms.
These findings come from CareOne's first "State of Debt Ranking," which examined the amount of debt, number of credit cards and credit scores of more than 135,000 people nationwide who enrolled in debt management or debt settlement programs in 2009 and 2010.
The ranking lists the 10 states with the highest average consumer debt and the 10 states with the lowest average consumer debt. Delaware tops the list with an average debt of more than $20,000 spread across seven unsecured creditors, such as credit cards.
Residents of California had the least amount of debt, with an average of $12,800 and five creditors.
"In the last few years, we have seen financial necessity cause more people to turn to credit cards to pay for daily expenses such as groceries, gas and utilities," said Jenny Realo, a CPA and executive vice president of CareOne Services. "But a growing number of people are realizing that their debt is a burden and seeking solutions to get their finances under control, pay down their debt and boost their savings."
In 2010, CareOne Services provided the tools to help consumers pay down more than $385 million in debt.
"We are excited to see more people taking control of their financial situations and reaching out for the help they need," said Mike Croxson, president of CareOne Services. "As evidenced by the findings in our State of Debt Ranking, it is apparent that high debt will continue to be a burden for many people for years to come."
10 States with the Highest Average Consumer Debt in 2010
Average Consumer Debt
Average Number of Creditors
Average Credit Score
10 States with the Lowest Average Consumer Debt in 2010
To gather the data for this report, CareOne Services Inc. pulled verified debt and credit card information on more than 135,000 people who enrolled in a debt management or debt settlement program in 2009 or 2010.
CareOne Services Inc. is a debt relief company formed in 2002 to provide consumers with multiple solutions to complex money issues. CareOne takes a holistic approach to assisting customers in debt and reviews each situation to create achievable financial solutions. CareOne's services include credit counseling, debt management, debt settlement, as well as free referrals to bankruptcy attorneys if that is in the best interest of the consumer.
CareOne also provides the CareOne Community, a free online resource for consumers that includes educational tools, blogs and forums where more than a million people share their experiences and receive support from others in similar situations.
Headquartered in Columbia, Md., CareOne has helped more than 2 million people. In 2010, it provided consumers with the tools and assistance to pay down more than $385 million in debt. CareOne provides services in 41 states. For more information, call 1-800-373-3225 or visit CareOneCredit.com.
For The Media
For more information on CareOne Services Inc. and the debt relief industry, visit http://www.careonedebtinsights.com/ or call (336) 505-9312.