Study: More Than A Third of Americans In Debt Collection


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In one of the most telling remnants of the great recession of the early 21st century, researchers revealed this morning that more than 35 percent of Americans are now battling with debt collectors.

The study was unveiled early today by the Urban Institute and it found that 35.1 percent of people with credit records have been reported to collections, and their debt averages $5,178, according to September 2013 records. And in spite of the fact that overall nationwide credit card debt has been whittled down since the recession, the share of Americans in collections has remained constant.

One interesting twist: The collection industry continues to hire more people. More than 140,000 workers are employed as collectors, recovering approximately $50 billion annually, according to a separate study published by the Federal Reserve's Philadelphia bank branch.

Not surprisingly, nearly half of Las Vegas residents have debt in collections. Other cities with a high proportion of debt include a number of Texas municipalities (El Paso, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio), as well Orlando, Memphis and Jackson, Miss.

"Roughly, every third person you pass on the street is going to have debt in collections," Caroline Ratcliffe, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told The New York Times. "It can tip employers' hiring decisions, or whether or not you get that apartment."


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