Yikes, Household Debt Spikes

Yikes, Household Debt Spikes

U.S. households increased their total debt by $271 billion during Q4 2023 – roughly 19% more than the average for Q4 over the past 20 years. As a result, U.S. households collectively owed $17.5 trillion to start 2024, according to Federal Reserve Bank of New York data analyzed by WalletHub.

Why it matters: For context, U.S. GDP is about $27 trillion per year, and the government spent a total of $6.13 trillion in fiscal year 2023.

Yes, but: When you adjust household debt for inflation, things don’t look as bad, says WalletHub.

  • The inflation-adjusted total is 5% below the record set in 2008. The situation is far from ideal but it’s not unprecedentedly bad.

Go deeper: Total mortgage debt increased to $12.25 trillion in Q4 2023 – $1.25 trillion below the all-time high.

  • The average household had $102,258 in mortgage debt at the end of Q4 2023 – $13,401 below the record.

Published by

Darryl Hicks

Darryl Hicks is Vice President of Communications for the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. In this capacity, Hicks writes for NRMLA's publications, manages the association's web sites and social media accounts, assists committees and the Board of Directors, and manages the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designation. Prior to joining NRMLA in 1999, Hicks spent three years in the Washington, D.C. bureau for National Mortgage News.