States with the most debt

Written by:
October 29, 2020
wutzkohphoto // Shutterstock

States with the most debt

Household debt is a reality for most Americans, whether a mortgage, credit cards, or car and student loans. A state’s tanking economy and job loss can force people into foreclosures and defaults on loans. They might even see their cars or other vehicles repossessed.

Here, Stacker ranks states with the most debt, as measured by what is owed per capita and a state’s median income. The figures were calculated before the coronavirus pandemic threw the U.S. economy into a tailspin. The debt also is placed in the context of each state’s economy, whether unemployment rates, uninsured residents, top industries, or numbers living in poverty.

Texas had the highest real GDP growth for 2019 at 4.4%, but other states had highly educated populations or high numbers of residents with health insurance, other markers of a healthy economy. In Massachusetts, for example, 42.9% of residents 25 or older have at least a bachelor’s degree, and only 3.5% of those under 65 do not have health insurance. Alaska is warning of pressure on its state budget from falling oil production until new wells begin operating. Kentucky has the worst-funded pension system in the country. Hawaii has expensive real estate but also high incomes.

In order to find the states with the most debt, Stacker analyzed data from the New York Federal Reserve's 2019 4th Quarter Report on Household Debt and Credit. States are ranked by individual debt-to-income ratio, calculated by dividing per capita debt by median individual income. Income data was obtained from the 2018 U.S. Census 5 year American Community Survey. Debts are defined as “delinquent” by the New York Fed when a payment is 90+ days late.

Read on to find out where your state lands on the debt spectrum.

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12019 // Pixabay

#51. West Virginia

- Debt per capita: $30,580 (74.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $29,552 (1.0 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,190 (5.4% delinquent; #18 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,390 (8.1% delinquent; #50 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $15,980 (1.2% delinquent; #51 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,180 (15.8% delinquent; #47 among all states)

Some economic indicators are up in West Virginia. The unemployment rate fell from 5.3% in January 2017 to 4.6% in August 2019, food stamp use has dropped, and household income when adjusted for inflation rose in 2017 and 2018. On the other hand, the state is dependent on mining and natural gas, where gains were below the levels of the Great Recession of 2008. In addition, the population decreased by 25,000 from 2016 to 2018, and the growth of its GDP was below the national average.

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Ken L. // Wikicommons

#50. Mississippi

- Debt per capita: $33,140 (77.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $28,943 (1.1 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,220 (7.5% delinquent; #17 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,240 (9.5% delinquent; #51 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $16,260 (1.6% delinquent; #50 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,900 (15.4% delinquent; #17 among all states)

Mississippi’s GDP grew at just 0.3% from 2012 to 2017, well below the national rate. It saw job loss in the construction, mining and logging, leisure and hospitality, and information industries. The unemployment rate in July 2019 was 5.1%, above the national rate of 3.7%

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12019 // Pixabay

#49. Oklahoma

- Debt per capita: $35,110 (69.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,646 (1.1 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,510 (5.6% delinquent; #8 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,710 (8.9% delinquent; #43 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $20,100 (1.2% delinquent; #48 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,560 (15.2% delinquent; #42 among all states)

Oklahoma’s job growth was below the national average in 2019, a sluggish pace of 0.5% a year on average, after a decade during which the state bested countrywide increases. The drop was a result of falling oil prices and more efficiency in the industry. Other industries added jobs, but they did not pay as well.

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emilyd3 // Pixabay

#48. Kentucky

- Debt per capita: $34,910 (55.2% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,294 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,120 (5.0% delinquent; #42 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,480 (7.8% delinquent; #49 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $20,310 (1.0% delinquent; #47 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,980 (15.7% delinquent; #38 among all states)

Unemployment in 2019 in Kentucky was 4.3%, higher than the 3.7% national rate. The mining and logging industry lost about 100 jobs. The state had the worst-funded public pension plan in the country, according to the Bond Buyer in July 2019.

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#47. Arkansas

- Debt per capita: $33,950 (67.6% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $29,333 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,520 (5.5% delinquent; #7 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,530 (9.7% delinquent; #48 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $18,950 (1.0% delinquent; #49 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,540 (12.2% delinquent; #43 among all states)

Arkansas struggles with low education levels and a high poverty rate. Under a quarter of its adults have a bachelor’s degree, and about 16% are living in poverty. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families found that the state was one of nine where income inequality grew in 2019.

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Kzollman // Wikicommons

#46. Kansas

- Debt per capita: $38,720 (51.2% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,032 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,190 (3.4% delinquent; #40 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,930 (6.4% delinquent; #35 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $23,960 (0.7% delinquent; #43 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,540 (11.3% delinquent; #23 among all states)

Despite faring better than average in such key markers as education and unemployment, Kansas' economy grew more slowly than most states’ from 2012 through 2017. It had an average annual growth rate of 0.9%.

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12019 // Pixabay

#45. Ohio

- Debt per capita: $39,450 (33.5% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,104 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,590 (4.6% delinquent; #31 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,890 (7.4% delinquent; #37 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $22,860 (0.9% delinquent; #44 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,320 (12.1% delinquent; #5 among all states)

As part of the Rust Belt, Ohio had an unemployment rate of 4.1% in December 2019, compared to a national rate of 3.5%. The average annual change in the GDP was 1.5% in 2019 versus 2.2% for the country as a whole.

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12019 // Pixabay

#44. Wisconsin

- Debt per capita: $41,760 (49.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $33,753 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,000 (2.7% delinquent; #44 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,770 (5.5% delinquent; #41 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $27,580 (0.6% delinquent; #31 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,940 (8.9% delinquent; #39 among all states)

Wisconsin matches the country’s average in many areas: unemployment, poverty, and number of residents with bachelor’s degrees. It had a 3.3% unemployment rate in November 2019. In 2018, CNBC ranked its economy the 17th-best in the country, though with a shortage of workers.

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12019 // Pixabay

#43. Iowa

- Debt per capita: $40,740 (72.9% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,782 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,630 (2.9% delinquent; #29 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,650 (7.0% delinquent; #46 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $25,660 (0.7% delinquent; #39 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,330 (13.1% delinquent; #28 among all states)

Iowa came through the Great Recession well, with low unemployment rates. The rate was 2.7% in 2019, among the lowest in the country. That very benefit might also have been a problem, though. A lack of workers might have harmed its economic growth, as employers were forced to pay bonuses to find employees.

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12019 // Pixabay

#42. Indiana

- Debt per capita: $39,570 (42.3% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,662 (1.2 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,460 (5.2% delinquent; #33 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,700 (7.0% delinquent; #44 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $24,320 (1.0% delinquent; #42 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,290 (12.9% delinquent; #29 among all states)

Only about a quarter of Indiana’s population has a bachelor’s degree. Its lack of a skilled workforce was particularly noticeable due to its high number of manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing accounts for 31.8% of its private sector, per the Indiana Business Review.

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12019 // Pixabay

#41. Alabama

- Debt per capita: $38,000 (55.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,356 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,150 (6.6% delinquent; #19 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,550 (8.4% delinquent; #47 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $21,880 (0.9% delinquent; #46 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,120 (14.0% delinquent; #34 among all states)

Alabama is the country’s fifth-poorest state, with 16.8% of its residents living below the federal poverty level. The national average is only 13.1%. CNBC noted its poor quality of life and the poor health of its residents, but also its low costs for doing business. The state’s economy was expected to grow by 1.9% in 2019, according to the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama.

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BruceEmmerling // Pixabay

#40. Pennsylvania

- Debt per capita: $43,440 (66.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $34,663 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,310 (4.4% delinquent; #37 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,260 (8.0% delinquent; #23 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $26,090 (1.1% delinquent; #37 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,420 (10.1% delinquent; #4 among all states)

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in 2019 was 4.4%, above the national rate of 3.5%. As for its workforce, among adults, 30.8% had a bachelor’s degree, and although it is the fifth most populated state, its population grew only 0.8% in the eight years before 2019. Among its residents, 12% were living in poverty in 2019.

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anned // Pixabay

#39. North Dakota

- Debt per capita: $45,550 (113.4% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $36,200 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,530 (2.9% delinquent; #6 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,200 (5.6% delinquent; #24 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $28,490 (0.8% delinquent; #29 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,500 (7.9% delinquent; #24 among all states)

North Dakota’s economy boomed with fracking and is now contracting, as oil prices fell in 2019. The drop has been especially exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Oil and gas account for 53% of the state’s revenue. Its unemployment rate was at 2% in March 2020 but rose with the pandemic.

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USA-Reiseblogger // Pixabay

#38. Louisiana

- Debt per capita: $39,740 (77.3% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,994 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,950 (6.9% delinquent; #2 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,690 (8.6% delinquent; #45 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $22,550 (1.5% delinquent; #45 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,580 (14.7% delinquent; #22 among all states)

Louisiana’s economy is among those most dependent on the energy sector, including oil and petroleum refining, and with the drop in oil prices beginning in 2014 and now the COVID-19 pandemic, it is struggling. The state’s oil and natural gas industry accounted for 26% of its GDP. The unemployment rate in 2019 was 4.8%.

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12019 // Pixabay

#37. Michigan

- Debt per capita: $40,160 (21.5% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,284 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,980 (5.3% delinquent; #46 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,860 (6.9% delinquent; #38 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $24,760 (0.7% delinquent; #41 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,910 (12.0% delinquent; #16 among all states)

As a center of the auto industry, Michigan was hurt when assembly lines shut down due to the pandemic. Crains Detroit Business reports that in the second quarter of 2020, the state’s GDP dropped at an annualized rate of 41%, compared to 32.9% for the country. A University of Michigan report predicts the state will not return to employment levels from before the pandemic until 2024. The rate was 4% in 2019.

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12019 // Pixabay

#36. Missouri

- Debt per capita: $40,380 (52.1% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,447 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,460 (4.8% delinquent; #33 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,800 (7.6% delinquent; #40 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $25,090 (0.8% delinquent; #40 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,370 (12.1% delinquent; #27 among all states)

For the last 50 years, Missouri’s economy has lagged behind that of the country as a whole, according to an essay published last year by the Show-Me Institute. It has had trouble keeping its residents. Only 28.6% of adults have a bachelor's degree, below the national percentage of 36%.

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Falkenpost // Pixabay

#35. Nebraska

- Debt per capita: $41,610 (65.6% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,357 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,250 (2.8% delinquent; #38 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,000 (6.7% delinquent; #32 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $26,660 (0.5% delinquent; #35 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,170 (9.2% delinquent; #32 among all states)

Nebraska’s unemployment rate was 3.1% in March 2019. Its real GDP rose 3.4% in the first quarter of 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Among the economy’s strongest areas were agriculture, retail, and finance and insurance.

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12019 // Pixabay

#34. Illinois

- Debt per capita: $47,510 (40.4% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $35,817 (1.3 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,360 (4.5% delinquent; #35 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,410 (6.6% delinquent; #21 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $31,260 (1.3% delinquent; #24 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,970 (9.8% delinquent; #15 among all states)

Illinois’ population has shrunk, and the decreasing population has caused the state’s economic production to fall behind that of the country. Chicago has lost manufacturing plants that once drew low-skilled labor to the city.

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igormattio // Pixabay

#33. New York

- Debt per capita: $51,280 (64.1% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $37,701 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,780 (4.1% delinquent; #49 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,010 (9.0% delinquent; #7 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $34,030 (1.9% delinquent; #21 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,180 (8.5% delinquent; #9 among all states)

New York was one of 10 states that lost population between 2018 and 2019. New York City’s economy grew 2.4% on an annualized basis for 2019’s fourth quarter, besting growth on the national level. The economy was marked by rising wages and a strong labor market, according to the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

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skeeze // Pixabay

#32. South Dakota

- Debt per capita: $43,050 (51.2% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,540 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,610 (3.4% delinquent; #30 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,970 (6.3% delinquent; #33 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $26,690 (0.7% delinquent; #34 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,150 (8.2% delinquent; #33 among all states)

Agriculture is the state’s top industry, with the focus on corn, soybeans, and wheat. South Dakota farmers in 2019 contended with low prices, The Trump administration’s tariffs, and a wet growing season in the spring.

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12019 // Pixabay

#31. Tennessee

- Debt per capita: $42,500 (56.5% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,695 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,780 (4.8% delinquent; #25 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,760 (7.8% delinquent; #42 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $26,510 (0.9% delinquent; #36 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,190 (12.7% delinquent; #31 among all states)

Tennessee’s GDP adjusted for inflation grew by 2.7% in 2019, compared to 2.9% for the country. However, its unemployment rate of 3.2% in February improved on the national rate. One the other hand, only 26.6% of its adults have a bachelor’s degree, 12.1% of those under 65 lacked health insurance, and 13.9% of its residents were living in poverty.

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#30. Maine

- Debt per capita: $43,740 (58.4% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,447 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,670 (3.1% delinquent; #28 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,960 (6.2% delinquent; #34 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $27,200 (1.5% delinquent; #33 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,440 (8.5% delinquent; #26 among all states)

Maine has larger changes in seasonal employment than most other states because of the arrival of summer visitors and the departure of retirees during the winter, according to the state’s Department of Labor. Its unemployment rate for September 2019 was 2.9%, compared to 3.5% for the country. The size of Maine’s labor force has not changed significantly in 14 years. Wages rose in 2019, and there were a high number of job openings. The growth in the real GDP for 2019 was 1.9%.

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12019 // Pixabay

#29. Texas

- Debt per capita: $45,290 (74.3% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,246 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $6,880 (5.8% delinquent; #1 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,470 (9.2% delinquent; #18 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $27,450 (0.9% delinquent; #32 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,100 (11.9% delinquent; #35 among all states)

Texas had the highest growth in real GDP in 2019 at 4.4%. The unemployment rate in Texas in 2019 was at a historic low of 3.4%, and growth in employment was strong except in oil and gas drilling, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Texas added construction jobs at 6.0%, higher than the national rate. Exports to China were down because of tariffs.

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BruceEmmerling // Pixabay

#28. New Jersey

- Debt per capita: $59,100 (49.9% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $41,812 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,160 (3.9% delinquent; #41 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,170 (7.5% delinquent; #4 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $41,020 (1.7% delinquent; #12 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,210 (8.5% delinquent; #8 among all states)

New Jersey’s GDP grew 1.5% in 2019. Its unemployment rate in August 2019 was 3.2%, the lowest monthly rate since statewide records began in 1976. Only 9.2% of its residents were living in poverty, and 38.9% held bachelor’s degrees.

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pnelson1 // Pixabay

#27. Rhode Island

- Debt per capita: $51,170 (53.1% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $36,079 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,970 (3.1% delinquent; #47 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,540 (8.1% delinquent; #16 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $34,680 (1.1% delinquent; #19 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,640 (10.6% delinquent; #21 among all states)

Rhode Island’s GDP grew by 2.7% in 2019. Its unemployment rate in December of 2019 was 3.5% compared to 4.0% in January. Among adults, 33.3% have a bachelor’s degree. Only 4.8% of those under 65 lacked health insurance, and 10.8% of residents were living in poverty.

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Mariamichelle // Pixabay

#26. Vermont

- Debt per capita: $46,490 (60.5% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,376 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,250 (3.2% delinquent; #15 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,130 (5.8% delinquent; #27 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $29,130 (1.1% delinquent; #28 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,880 (7.7% delinquent; #19 among all states)

Vermont’s real GDP grew by 2.5% in 2019. Among residents, 5.6% under 65 did not have health insurance, 10.2% were living in poverty, and 37.3% had a bachelor’s degree.

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12019 // Pixabay

#25. Wyoming

- Debt per capita: $47,670 (83.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,957 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,390 (3.7% delinquent; #11 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,130 (7.5% delinquent; #27 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $32,950 (0.9% delinquent; #22 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $3,690 (9.3% delinquent; #51 among all states)

Wyoming’s real GDP grew 3.3% in 2019, better than the U.S. rate of 2.3%, but 14.8% of residents under 65 did not have health insurance, and 10.1% of residents were living in poverty. Among those 25 and older, 26.9% had a bachelor’s degree. The economy was based on oil and natural gas.

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#24. Connecticut

- Debt per capita: $59,840 (44.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $41,332 (1.4 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,760 (3.1% delinquent; #50 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,020 (7.1% delinquent; #6 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $42,340 (1.8% delinquent; #11 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,160 (9.5% delinquent; #11 among all states)

Connecticut’s real GDP grew by only 1.6% in 2019, with the information sector predominant. The U.S. economy expanded by 2.3%, while the New England states averaged a 2.3% growth. The unemployment rate in Connecticut in June 2019 was 3.7%.

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skeeze // Pixabay

#23. New Mexico

- Debt per capita: $41,000 (47.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $27,989 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,690 (6.4% delinquent; #3 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,860 (9.0% delinquent; #38 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $25,810 (1.4% delinquent; #38 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,100 (13.8% delinquent; #48 among all states)

New Mexico had the fourth-highest-growing GDP in 2019 at 4.1%. It was behind Texas, Wyoming, and Alaska, all states that rely on oil and gas. The poverty level is high at 18.2%, and 12% of residents do not have health insurance.

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#22. Minnesota

- Debt per capita: $55,380 (39.1% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $37,261 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,220 (2.3% delinquent; #39 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,380 (6.1% delinquent; #22 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $38,510 (0.6% delinquent; #15 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,310 (9.2% delinquent; #6 among all states)

Minnesota’s poverty level is low at 9.0%, and only 5.8% of those under 65 lack health insurance. The state’s real GDP for 2019 was 1.4%, below the U.S. growth rate of 2.3%. Its economy is more resilient than those of some of its neighbors, mainly because it has diversified and is based not only on agriculture and manufacturing but also health care, tourism, and professional and business services.

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#21. New Hampshire

- Debt per capita: $56,640 (52.6% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $38,025 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,560 (2.9% delinquent; #5 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,630 (6.6% delinquent; #14 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $37,480 (0.7% delinquent; #18 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,890 (8.6% delinquent; #18 among all states)

New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate in the United States at 7.3%, compared to 10.5% for the country. Its unemployment rate was 2.5% for 2019. Driving the economy are high-tech manufacturing, tourism, and health care.

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acethom // Pixabay

#20. South Carolina

- Debt per capita: $45,420 (60.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,081 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,000 (6.4% delinquent; #21 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,020 (8.2% delinquent; #31 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $28,030 (1.2% delinquent; #30 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,050 (14.0% delinquent; #13 among all states)

South Carolina’s real GDP grew 3% in 2019, and its seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.2% in August. Among the top sectors were the aerospace and automotive industries, agribusiness, and tourism. The poverty level, however, was at 13.8%, and 13.2% of those under 65 did not have health insurance.

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mam5032 // PIxabay

#19. North Carolina

- Debt per capita: $47,260 (54.0% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,147 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,230 (5.7% delinquent; #16 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,120 (8.1% delinquent; #29 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $30,100 (0.9% delinquent; #26 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,470 (12.6% delinquent; #25 among all states)

North Carolina saw a 2.3% increase in its real GDP in 2019 with an economy focused on aerospace and defense, furniture, food processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and plastics and chemicals. Numbers of uninsured residents and those living in poverty were at 13.4% and 13.6%, respectively.

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skeeze // Pixabay

#18. Delaware

- Debt per capita: $55,290 (58.9% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $35,866 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,040 (5.5% delinquent; #20 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,520 (8.6% delinquent; #17 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $37,830 (1.7% delinquent; #16 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,070 (11.0% delinquent; #12 among all states)

Delaware’s real GDP grew only 0.8% in 2019, making its economy one of the slowest-growing in the country. Among its residents, 11.3% were living in poverty and 8.1% were without health insurance. More than half of all publicly-traded companies in the United States are registered in Delaware.

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kalasoft // Pixabay

#17. Alaska

- Debt per capita: $59,630 (63.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $38,601 (1.5 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,960 (2.5% delinquent; #22 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,440 (6.6% delinquent; #1 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $42,860 (0.6% delinquent; #10 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $3,970 (10.9% delinquent; #49 among all states)

Alaska’s real GDP grew 2.5% in 2019, but its oil production was faltering even before the pandemic. Its North Slope production had fallen to 500,000 barrels a day and will continue to decline, and the state was predicting shortfalls in its budget until new oil fields began to operate. Residents living in poverty stood at 10.1%, and those without insurance at 13.9%.

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paulbr75 // Pixabay

#16. Florida

- Debt per capita: $47,380 (54.0% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,462 (1.6 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,380 (5.8% delinquent; #12 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,730 (10.5% delinquent; #12 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $29,970 (1.5% delinquent; #27 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,020 (12.6% delinquent; #36 among all states)

Florida’s economy features tourism, agriculture, and the aerospace industry, but it is threatened by climate change. Its real GDP grew 2.8% in 2019, but 12.7% of its residents live in poverty, and 16.3% lack health insurance.

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12019 // Pixabay

#15. Georgia

- Debt per capita: $49,720 (42.2% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,857 (1.6 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,640 (6.3% delinquent; #4 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,470 (8.3% delinquent; #18 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $30,240 (1.0% delinquent; #25 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $7,440 (13.5% delinquent; #2 among all states)

Corporate headquarters are moving to Atlanta, contributing to the growth in Georgia’s economy. The city trails only New York and Houston, serving as the headquarters of 26 companies in the Fortune 1,000. Georgia’s real GDP grew 2% in 2019. Among its residents, 15.5% do not have health insurance, and 13.3% live in poverty.

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12019 // Pixabay

#14. Massachusetts

- Debt per capita: $65,500 (55.5% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $41,476 (1.6 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,990 (2.8% delinquent; #45 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,760 (7.2% delinquent; #11 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $47,770 (0.9% delinquent; #8 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,180 (7.1% delinquent; #9 among all states)

Massachusetts’ economy is based on tourism and other service industries, as well as on technological research. Its real GDP grew 2.5% in 2019. It also has the most highly educated population in the country, with 42.9% of its residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Only 3.5% of its residents lack health insurance, and 9.4% live in poverty.

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12019 // Pixabay

#13. Montana

- Debt per capita: $46,660 (87.3% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $28,806 (1.6 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,340 (4.0% delinquent; #36 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,060 (7.0% delinquent; #30 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $31,550 (0.6% delinquent; #23 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,620 (9.3% delinquent; #41 among all states)

Montana’s real GDP grew 2.1% in 2019. Despite such measures as low unemployment, personal income growth, and wage growth, Montana still lags behind the country on income and wage levels. The number of people without health insurance stands at 10.2%, and 12.6% live in poverty.

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AgnosticPreachersKid // WikiCommons

#12. Washington, D.C.

- Debt per capita: $88,450 (106.3% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $53,377 (1.7 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,090 (9.8% delinquent; #51 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,420 (6.5% delinquent; #2 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $64,700 (0.8% delinquent; #1 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $13,420 (7.7% delinquent; #1 among all states)

Washington D.C.’s real GDP grew at 1.6% in 2019. With a concentration of 364,000 federal employees, the Washington metropolitan area has the fifth-largest GDP in the country, according to the D.C. Policy Center.

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skeeze // Pixabay

#11. Nevada

- Debt per capita: $54,830 (36.7% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $32,281 (1.7 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,410 (5.8% delinquent; #10 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,630 (11.5% delinquent; #14 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $38,900 (1.0% delinquent; #14 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,270 (13.6% delinquent; #46 among all states)

Nevada’s real GDP grew at 2.9% in 2019, but 12.5% of its population lives in poverty, and 13.4% do not have health insurance. Besides tourism and gambling, Nevada’s economy is made up of such industries as aerospace, health, information technology, manufacturing, and mining.

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12019 // Pixabay

#10. Maryland

- Debt per capita: $72,310 (66.9% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $42,520 (1.7 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,430 (5.1% delinquent; #9 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,120 (7.4% delinquent; #5 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $52,070 (1.3% delinquent; #5 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,910 (10.0% delinquent; #3 among all states)

Maryland’s real GDP grew 1.5% in 2019. Its economy’s major sectors include biohealth sciences, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and the military and federal government. Only 6.9% of its residents lack health insurance, and 9% live in poverty.

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skeeze // Pixabay

#9. Arizona

- Debt per capita: $54,290 (43.9% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,508 (1.7 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,350 (5.2% delinquent; #14 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,460 (10.4% delinquent; #20 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $37,620 (0.6% delinquent; #17 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,260 (13.0% delinquent; #30 among all states)

Arizona had a stubbornly high unemployment rate of about 4.9% in 2019, its poverty rate was at 13.5%, and the number of people without health insurance was at 13.6%. Its real GDP grew 3.1% in 2019, but one reason for its unemployment rate is that its labor force grew, too.

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12019 // Pixabay

#8. Virginia

- Debt per capita: $66,140 (65.1% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $37,749 (1.8 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,900 (3.9% delinquent; #23 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,000 (6.6% delinquent; #8 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $47,810 (0.7% delinquent; #7 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,050 (10.3% delinquent; #13 among all states)

Virginia, like Maryland, is helped by bordering Washington D.C., with its high number of government officials and professionals. Its real GDP grew 1.9% in 2019. Its economy in 2019 was focused on data centers, the third-largest port on the East Coast, a manufacturing base, an unmanned systems industry, and tech workers, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

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skeeze // Pixabay

#7. Washington

- Debt per capita: $67,440 (60.6% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $37,960 (1.8 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,470 (2.6% delinquent; #32 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,660 (5.8% delinquent; #13 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $51,220 (0.5% delinquent; #6 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,330 (8.6% delinquent; #44 among all states)

Washington’s real GDP rose 3.8% in 2019. At the same time, its December 2019 unemployment rate was 4.3%. Some of its economy’s most important industries, according to its Department of Commerce, are aerospace, agriculture, clean technology, information technology, forestry and wood products, and maritime and military sectors.

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newsanek // Pixabay

#6. Oregon

- Debt per capita: $56,620 (62.2% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $31,591 (1.8 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,010 (2.6% delinquent; #43 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,200 (6.3% delinquent; #24 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $40,740 (0.5% delinquent; #13 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,820 (11.2% delinquent; #20 among all states)

Oregon’s real GDP grew only 2.7% in comparison to neighboring Washington. Among its residents, 11.4% were living in poverty, and 8.6% did not have health insurance. Its key industries include advanced manufacturing, forestry and wood products, technology, and business services.

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taddtography // Pixabay

#5. Idaho

- Debt per capita: $50,470 (69.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $28,100 (1.8 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,760 (2.9% delinquent; #26 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $2,930 (6.8% delinquent; #35 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $34,210 (0.5% delinquent; #20 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $5,020 (10.3% delinquent; #36 among all states)

Idaho’s real GDP grew 2.8% in 2019. Those without health insurance numbered 12.8%, and those in poverty 11.2%. Idaho’s top sectors include a mix of traditional and new industries, with advanced manufacturing, aerospace, food production, and outdoor recreation among them.

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12019 // Pixabay

#4. Utah

- Debt per capita: $62,090 (71.3% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $30,967 (2.0 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $5,370 (2.6% delinquent; #13 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,170 (5.8% delinquent; #26 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $45,900 (0.5% delinquent; #9 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,290 (9.0% delinquent; #45 among all states)

Utah’s GDP grew 3.8% in 2019. It saw 8.9% of its population living in poverty and 10.8% without health insurance. Among its economy’s primary sectors: tourism, aerospace and defense, renewable resources, and IT.

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#3. Hawaii

- Debt per capita: $74,230 (82.4% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $36,788 (2.0 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $3,920 (4.1% delinquent; #48 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $4,290 (7.2% delinquent; #3 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $56,160 (0.7% delinquent; #3 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $3,780 (14.3% delinquent; #50 among all states)

Hawaii’s real GDP grew only 1% in 2019. It’s an expensive place, with high real estate costs; the median price for a home in 2018 was nearly $550,000. The state had a low unemployment rate of 2.6% in November 2019. Only 5% of its population had no health insurance, and 9.3% of its population lived in poverty.

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MaxPixel

#2. Colorado

- Debt per capita: $73,890 (47.8% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $36,482 (2.0 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,850 (3.4% delinquent; #24 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,820 (6.5% delinquent; #9 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $55,510 (0.4% delinquent; #4 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $6,230 (10.1% delinquent; #7 among all states)

Colorado’s top industries include aerospace, high tech, advanced manufacturing, and energy and natural resources. Among its residents, 9.3% live in poverty, and 9.3% are without health insurance. The state’s real GDP grew 3.5% in 2019.

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12019 // Pixabay

#1. California

- Debt per capita: $73,400 (48.6% increase since 2003)
- Median income: $35,050 (2.1 debt to income ratio)
- Debt composition:
--- Auto debt per capita: $4,710 (4.9% delinquent; #27 among all states)
--- Credit card debt per capita: $3,810 (8.7% delinquent; #10 among all states)
--- Mortgage debt per capita: $57,170 (0.6% delinquent; #2 among all states)
--- Student loan debt per capita: $4,640 (9.6% delinquent; #40 among all states)

California’s real GDP grew 2.6% in 2019. It is home to Silicon Valley and tech behemoths such as Apple and Facebook, but at the same time, 11.8% of the state lives in poverty, while 8.9% has no health insurance.

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