Money isn’t something we talk about openly with our peers—or even our family members. In a 2015 study by Fidelity, 43% of respondents didn’t know how much money their spouse earned.
This secrecy with money makes it difficult to know just how you’re doing. That’s where personal finance statistics can help. These benchmarks can help you set goals if you need to catch up, or enjoy a little celebration if you’re ahead.
Here are some important personal finance statistics to know.
On this page:
Median U.S. household income
U.S. household income is on the rise, the median moving from $61,423 in 2017 to $61,937 in 2018 (both in 2018 dollars). Unsurprisingly, there’s a wide range in household income based on demographic information.
Of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas:
- Highest median household income: San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California at $107,898
- Lowest median household income: Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida at $54,912
Household income by state:
- Highest median household income: Maryland at $83,242
- Lowest median household income: West Virginia at $44,097
Household income by age:
- Under 25 years old: $33,389
- Ages 25–44: $68,817
- Ages 45–64 years old: $75,289
- Ages 65+: $44,992
Household income by race:
- White: $65,902
- White, non-hispanic: $67,937
- Black: $41,511
- Asian: $87,243
- Hispanic: $51,404
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Average American debt
While American household income is on the rise, so is our debt. Total household debt for Q3 2019 was $13.95 trillion, up from $13.87 trillion last quarter.
The breakdown of household debt outstanding for Americans includes:
- Housing: $9.83 trillion
- Auto loans: $1.32 trillion
- Credit cards: $0.88 trillion
- Student loans: $1.5 trillion
U.S. adults report an average of $29,800 in non-mortgage debt, which includes auto loans, credit cards, student loans, and other debt.
Non-mortgage debt by generation:
- Gen Z: $14,700
- Millennial: $27,900
- Gen X: $36,000
- Baby boomers: $28,600
How many Americans are in debt?
According to a study by Northwestern Mutual, 27% of Americans carry no debt. Of those in debt, 20% don’t know how much debt they owe, and 15% believe they will be in debt for the rest of their lives.
Credit card debt
By dollar amount, credit card debt is the smallest category of household debt, though 60.5% of Americans have a credit card. The average credit card debt is $6,028.
By generation, Gen X has the highest amount of credit card debt, while Gen Z has the lowest.
Average credit card balance by generation:
- Silent Generation: $4,613
- Baby boomer: $7,550
- Gen X: $7,750
- Millennial: $4,315
- Gen Z: $2,047
Average credit card balance by state:
- State with lowest credit card debt: Iowa with a $5,155 average balance on credit cards.
- State with the highest credit card debt: Alaska with a $8,515 average balance on credit cards.
Student loan debt
Student loan debt is the largest category of consumer debt, totaling $1.61 trillion in Q1 2019.
A majority of students rely on student debt to finance their education. Our annual student loan debt report shows that 57% of graduates from the class of 2018 who attended public and private nonprofit schools have student debt. These borrowers owed an average of $28,565.
Average student loan debt statistics for all borrowers
Among all borrowers that have student debt outstanding, you’ll find these averages:
- Average balance: $32,731
- Borrowers with at least one loan in deferment: 38%
- Average monthly loan payment: $393
The state whose borrowers have the highest student debt is Connecticut, where Class of 2018 borrowers have an average of $38,776 of debt.
The state with the lowest debt level for the Class of 2018 is Utah, with average debt of $19,742.
Student loan debt by age group
While the highest percentage of borrowers in student loan debt are under 30, student loan debt isn’t just a problem for young graduates.
The percentage of adults with outstanding student loan debt:
- Ages 18–29: 34%
- Ages 30–44: 22%
- Ages 45–59: 7%
- Ages 60+: 1%
And those percentages don’t necessarily reflect the number of people making student loan payments on behalf of someone else. An AARP study found that 25% of private student loan cosigners aged 50 and older had to make a loan payment because the borrower failed to do so.
The largest debt category that Americans are facing is housing debt, which includes both mortgages and home equity loans. The total outstanding housing debt is $9.8 trillion, which has been steadily on the rise since Q2 2013, when the outstanding housing debt was $8.38 trillion.
A majority of homeowners use mortgages:
- 77% of home buyers use a mortgage to finance their home purchase.
- 58% of homeowners are still paying off their mortgage.
Mortgage use among home buyers by generation:
- Millennial: 78%
- Gen X: 82%
- Baby boomer: 72%
- Silent Generation: 68%
The average mortgage loan debt is $202,284, and the median home selling price is $234,500.
Mortgage debt varies widely based on location. Residents of Washington, D.C., have the highest mortgage debt at $416,848. The state with the lowest mortgage debt is West Virginia, with an average outstanding debt of $110,158.
Average American savings
Many Americans aren’t saving enough in an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Four in 10 Americans would find it difficult to pay for a $400 unexpected expense and would rely on borrowing money to cover it.
While many Americans can’t cover this unexpected expense with cash, our personal savings rate—the percentage people are saving of their disposable income—is on the rise, so we know it’s important to save money.
Personal savings rate by month:
- September 2019: 8.3%
- August 2019: 7.8%
- July 2019: 7.8%
Baby boomers have the highest savings rate. Broken down by generation, the savings rate, including employer contributions to retirement is:
- Millennial: 7.5%
- Gen X: 8.5%
- Baby boomer: 9.9%
Average retirement savings
How are we doing with our retirement savings? Americans have concerns. Of non-retired working adults, only 36% think their retirement savings is on track.
The median retirement savings by household among workers of all ages is $63,000. This savings balance increases by age.
Median household retirement savings by age:
- Ages 20–29: $16,000
- Ages 30–39: $45,000
- Ages 40–49: $63,000
- Ages 50–59: $117,000
- Ages 60+: $172,000
Where do Americans keep their savings?
- 68% of Americans have a savings account.
- 45% have a retirement account.
- 32% have investments outside of a retirement account.
Source: US Bank Possibility Index
There is an opportunity for Americans to improve their financial standing through better budgeting practices.
How many Americans keep a budget?
How do Americans manage their spending?
- Only 41% of Americans keep a budget.
- 29% say they don’t make enough money to cover normal expenses.
- 17% say they aren’t able to pay their monthly bills in full.
- 15% of families reported spending more than they receive in income.
How do Americans spend their money?
The average consumer unit—defined as a family, single person, or two or more people living together who share expenses—spent $61,224 in 2018.
Here’s how the average household spent some of that money:
- Food: $7,923 (includes $4,464 spent at home and $3,459 out of the home)
- Housing: $20,091
- Apparel: $1,866
- Transportation: $9,761
- Health care, incl. insurance: $4,968
- Entertainment: $3,226
- Personal care products and services: $768
- Education: $1,407
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average American credit score
Many Americans have a healthy credit score, with the average overall FICO score at 703.
Average FICO scores increase with age:
- Ages 20–29: 662
- Ages 30–39: 673
- Ages 40–49: 684
- Ages 50–59: 706
- Ages 60+: 749
FICO isn’t the only credit scoring model. The national average credit score based on the VantageScore 3.0 model—the second most popular model after FICO—is 682.
Average credit scores by state:
- State with the highest VantageScore: Minnesota at 722.
- State with the lowest VantageScore: Mississippi at 648.
Payday loans are short-term loans a borrower uses to cover cash flow gaps between paychecks. The amount borrowed is generally due to be repaid by the borrower’s next pay date.
Payday loans come with extremely high APRs and can lead to a cycle of debt for borrowers. That’s why you should avoid them at all costs.
Three-quarters of payday loans go to borrowers who take out 11 or more of these loans annually.
Payday loan statistics:
- Number of payday loans borrowed each year: 12 million
- Loan fees paid annually: $9 billion
- Average borrower income: $30,000
- Average APR: 391%
- Number of states where payday loans are available: 36
Source: Pew Trust