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Debt statistics that may be surprising

A recent study from the Urban Institute says that 35 percent of Americans have debt that is at least 180 days past due. The majority of people who have debt in collections live in southern states such as Florida, Arkansas and Texas. On average, those who have debt in collections owe $5,200, and the type of debt owed by people in Washington, D.C., and around the country ranges from credit card debt to medical bills that have not been repaid.

It turns out that many people may not know that they owe money before the bill goes to collections. This commonly happens to people who owe medical debt as the balance may be too low for creditors to bother contacting someone about. According to a representative from Bankrate.com, the number of people who have debt in collections does not necessarily represent the number of people who are willfully ignoring or otherwise unable to pay their bills.

The research and policy director at the Economic Policy Institute says that these numbers are another reminder of the legacy of the recent recession. He further says that these statistics show that many Americans are still trying to climb out of a financial hole that was dug during the economic downturn, and that many are nowhere near close to fully getting back on their feet.

Those who are struggling to pay consumer debt may wish to talk to a bankruptcy attorney who may be able to help create a debt relief plan. The attorney may be able to negotiate with creditors on behalf of the client to get some of the debt forgiven or have late fees or penalty interest rates waived.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "A third of Americans delinquent on debt, study says", Hadley Malcolm , July 29, 2014

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