More than 35% of Borrowing Americans in Collections
More than 35% of Americans with credit files have debt in collections, according to a report prepared by the Urban Institute in conjunction with the Consumer Credit Research Institute.
Urban called the statistic alarming. However, the organization also determined the percentage of Americans with debt in collections is remarkably stable; a study conducted for the Federal Reserve in 2004 found 36.5% of Americans had debt in collections, the institute said.
“Note that consumers themselves may not realize they have debt in collections,” the authors wrote.
“[S]ome consumers report becoming aware of this debt only when they review their credit report,” adding the amount of debt in collections varies widely by person, from less than $25 to more than $125,000. The average amount owed is $5,178.
The report also found that the highest percentage of credit files with some debt in collections is in the South, with the lowest in Midwest.
Nevada was the state with the highest percentage of its credit files with debt in collections, with 47%. More than 40% of consumers in 12 other states and the District of Columbia have some debt in collections in their files.
The Washington, D.C.-based think tank reported its findings in Delinquent Debt in America, which it released on July 29. The organization used data provided by TransUnion for the analysis.