The household debt balance in the United States reached a new all-time high of $13.3 trillion in the second quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from the Center for Microeconomic Data of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. US household debt has risen continuously since 2013, now constituting 65 percent of US GDP and exceeding the 2008 pre-crisis level by nearly $475 billion.
US household debt is indisputably large in absolute terms, now exceeding the GDP China, the world's second-largest economy. Yet, relative to the size of the US economy, household debt is less remarkable than it is for other economies. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom all have higher levels of household debt as a share of GDP than the US.
On a per capita basis, US household debt has also not yet reached the level of 2008 when household debt exceeded GDP per capita. This suggests that the number of new debt accounts increased more aggressively than did the origination volume.
Mortgage balances also remain below their previous peak despite robust growth while auto loans reached a record value of $1.2 trillion, 74 percent higher than the 2010 level. US car sale figures also confirm an uptick in car purchases in the US, aided by historically low interest rates on auto loans.
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Source: IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) Database, October 2017
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