Utah Tenth in Household Debt

Inside Subprime: April 18, 2019

By Lindsey Frankel

Utah now ranks 10th in the country for the most household debt, according to estimates from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That means families in Utah are incurring debt quicker than the national average. And Utah ranks even higher for mortgage debt, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Based on the 2018 per-capita debt ranking, each adult in Utah owes an average of $59,320, which includes auto loans, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and credit card debt.

Most (77 percent) of the $128.8 billion total household debt that Utah residents were saddled with in 2018 came from mortgages. Auto loans made up the next largest portion of the pie, at nine percent. 8 percent of the debt was due to student loans, while credit cards account for about 6 percent.

There may have been a shift in the type of loans causing problems for Utah residents since the recession, however. Bankruptcy attorney Abraham Smoot said he used to see bigger issues with Utah payday loans, bad mortgages, and credit cards. Now, people are in deep with student loans and medical bills.

“It’s massive. Most people that come into my office are sitting at $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 of student loans,” Smoot said. “That’s a lot of money to pay when you don’t get a great job to pay them back with.”

He also mentioned that housing costs are rising much faster than wages, which makes it even more difficult for families to keep up with their bills.

While it may be a long road out of debt for many Utah residents, some families are starting to tackle their debt with the help of credit counselors. West Jordan resident AJ Colette, who meets with credit counselors for help paying down $10,000 in medical bills, said his situation improved when he stopped avoiding the problem.

For more information on payday loans in Utah, see our subprime report.

Learn more about payday loans, scams, and cash advances, and check out our city and state financial guides, including Salt Lake City, Utah; Sandy, Utah; Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and more.