Press Release

Total Household Debt Rises for 19th Straight Quarter, Now Nearly $1 Trillion Above Previous Peak

Credit Card Delinquencies Rise as User Demographics Shift
May 14, 2019

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, which shows that total household debt increased by $124 billion (0.9%) to $13.67 trillion in the first quarter of 2019. It was the 19th consecutive quarter with an increase, and the total is now $993 billion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008. The Report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample of individual- and household-level debt and credit records drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.

The New York Fed also issued an accompanying blog post that examines the prevalence of loan types over time, with the popularity of mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards following different paths during and after the Great Recession.

“The rate at which credit card balances become delinquent has been rising, and that has coincided with an increase in younger borrowers entering the credit card market,” said Andrew Haughwout, senior vice president at the New York Fed. “However, these delinquency rates are increasing from historically low levels and remain below pre-financial-crisis levels.”

The report includes a one-page summary of key takeaways and their supporting data points. Overarching trends from the Report’s summary include:

Housing Debt

  • Mortgage balances rose by $120 billion, to $9.2 trillion.
  • Mortgage originations declined to $344 billion from $401 billion, the lowest level seen since the third quarter of 2014.
  • Mortgage delinquencies improved slightly, with 1.0% of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent, down from 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Non-Housing Debt

  • Outstanding student loan debt increased by $29 billion, to $1.49 trillion.
  • Newly originated auto loans totaled $139 billion, continuing a long-running growth trend.
  • Credit card balances fell slightly, to $848 billion from $870 billion.

Bankruptcy Notations and Credit Inquiries

  • About 192,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports, on par with the total from the first quarter of 2018.
  • The number of credit inquiries within the past six months—an indicator of consumer credit demand—declined to around 137 million, the lowest level seen in the history of the data.

Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q1 2019

Quarterly Change*
(Billions $)
Annual Change**
(Billions $)
Total as of Q1 2019
(Trillions $)
Mortgage Debt (+)$120 (+) $305 $9.24
Home Equity Line of Credit

(-) $6 (-) $30 $0.41
Student Debt (+) $29 (+) $79 $1.49
Auto Debt (+) $6 (+) $51 $1.28
Credit Card Debt (-) $22 (+) $33 $0.85
Total Debt (+) $124 (+) $457 $13.67

*Change from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019
**Change from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019

Flow into Serious Delinquency (90 days or more delinquent) 1

Category 2
Q4 2018 Q1 2019
Mortgage Debt 1.19% 1.10%
Home Equity Line of Credit 0.81% 0.85%
Student Debt 3 9.08% 9.54%
Auto Debt 2.36% 2.36%
Credit Card Debt 4.99% 5.04%
All 2.36% 2.35%

1 Annualized as a four-quarter moving sum.

2 Rates represent annualized shares of balances transitioning into delinquency. Flow into serious delinquency is computed as the balances that have newly become at least 90 days late in the reference quarter divided by the balances that were current of less than 90 days past due in the previous quarter.

3 As explained in a previous report, delinquency rates for student loans are likely to understate effective delinquency rates because about half of these loans are currently in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance and therefore temporarily not in the repayment cycle. This implies that among loans in the repayment cycle delinquency rates are roughly twice as high.

About the Report

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report provides unique data and insight into the credit conditions and activity of U.S. consumers. Based on data from the New York Fed's Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data, the report provides a quarterly snapshot of household trends in borrowing and indebtedness, including data about mortgages, student loans, credit cards, auto loans and delinquencies. The report aims to help community groups, small businesses, state and local governments and the public to better understand, monitor and respond to trends in borrowing and indebtedness at the household level. Sections of the report are presented as interactive graphs on the New York Fed’s Household Debt and Credit Report web page and the full report is available for download.

Brian Manning
(212) 720-6143
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