Since the early 1990s, the growth of U.S. household debt in general consumer credit card debt in particular has soared to unprecedented levels-from an aggregate total of less than $4.0 trillion in 1990 to over $13 trillion in 2008. During this period, the average American household dramatically increased its home mortgage debt, from almost $2.5 trillion in 1990 to nearly $10.5 trillion today. Similarly, consumer "revolving" or credit card debt quadrupled from $239 billion to about $950 billion today. Moreover the growth of U.S. credit card debt was paid of through mortgage refinancing, home equity loans, and cash proceeds from the sale of real estate over this five-year period. This is consistent with the findings of Alan Greenspan and James Kennedy, who report that "equity extraction was used to repay a average of about $50 billion of non-mortgage consumer debt between 1991 to 2005, about 3% of the outstanding balance of that debt at the beginning of the year.
Department, Program, or Center
Manning, Robert, "Responsible debt relief: An Algorithmic assessment of household debt capacity and repayment capacity" (2008). Filene: Research Institute,Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus