Residents of this North Carolina city have some of the highest debt in the United States

21 May 2023

(NEXSTAR) – While Los Angeles residents may be saddled with higher-than-average mortgage debt, it’s the “Hollywood of the South” that has the most consumer debt, a new study found.

LendingTree looked at the anonymized credit reports of 75,000 Americans and found that the average non-mortgage debt across the 50 largest U.S. metros is $39,713, with the collective amount owed surpassing $17 trillion for the first time.

Confronted with soaring grocery bills, car prices and credit card rates, American debt levels jumped 7.65% in 2022, according to a study released earlier this year.

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When it comes to the highest average consumer debt, Atlanta comes in first at $45,891.

“Atlanta has a lower-than-average income compared to other big American cities, and Georgia has historically had some of the lowest credit scores in the nation (in Atlanta, the average credit score is 675),” LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz said in the study. “That less-than-stellar credit means that when you do get a loan, you’re probably not going to get the best terms, so that new car you want to buy may be even more expensive than you thought.”

See the top five cities with the most consumer debt below, along with the full list here.

RankMetroAverage amount of consumer debt1Atlanta, GA$45,8912Dallas, TX$45,5413Washington, DC$45,3374Austin, TX$44,5415Raleigh, NC$44,262(LendingTree)

For Atlanta and Washington D.C., LendingTree data showed that student loan debt was the most prominent type, with an average of $15,819 and $16,107, respectively.

Other notably debt-ridden metros include Memphis, Tennessee ($43,741) in 6th place; Nashville, Tennessee ($43,079) in 9th; Tampa, Florida ($42,532) in 11th; Las Vegas, Nevada ($41,418) in 19th; and Denver, Colorado ($41,239) in 20th.

The study found that auto loan debt, not student loan debt, is the highest non-mortgage debt in 34 of the 50 largest U.S. metros. San Antonio residents had the highest average auto debts at $18,248.

LendingTree’s analysis found that a stunning 98.1% of residents have non-mortgage debt.

“Considering that the average price of a new car is about $50,000 and that so many people likely have an auto loan, student loan debt and credit card debt simultaneously, $40,000 hardly seems outrageous,” Schultz said. “Now, I’m not saying that $40,000 in debt isn’t a lot or isn’t concerning. It absolutely is, and it can consume people’s lives. I’m just saying that given how expensive life is today, I’m not surprised that so many people are that deep in debt.”

The five largest metros with the least amount of consumer debt were New York City ($10,037) in first place; Minneapolis ($10,602) in second; San Francisco ($10,653) in third; Louisville, Kentucky ($10,795) in fourth; and Chicago ($10, 973) in fifth.

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