Seniors’ Credit Card Debt Substantially Increases
Senior citizens may be experiencing the worst financial pressures of the recession that began in 2008, according to a new survey. The report examined the change in credit card debt in the U.S. among low and middle-income households and found a 26 percent increase in the amount owed by older Americans.
“The Plastic Safety Net: How Households are Coping in a Fragile Economy” was published by Demos, a national research and policy center. A SeniorJournal report on the study said that in 2005, senior citizens had the lowest average credit card debt among all age groups. Since 2005, those Americans ages 65 and older have increased credit card debt by 26 percent. They now have the second highest average debt of any age group, after those ages 35 to 49.
“In 2008, more than one-half of indebted low and middle-income households (52 percent) cited medical expenses as contributing to their credit card debt,” the report said.
Older households reported the highest amount of credit card debt due to medical expenses, $3,988. In addition, 30 percent of households reported also carrying an average of $3,174 in additional medical debt not reflected on their credit cards.
Research shows that credit card debt in America has quadrupled since 1989 and increased 41 percent since 2000. Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt.
According to the report, the average credit card debt of low and middle-income indebted households in America is $9,827. More than one out of three households reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses, on average for five out of the last 12 months.