While there were income gains in the late 1990s, the average American’s credit card debt rose faster than ever before. This paper documents the dramatic rise in credit card debt and provides a snapshot of these trends by race between 1992 and 2001. For example, African-American and Hispanic families were more likely, overall, to carry a credit card balance than whites.

May 1, 2005

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    What the drivers are of credit card debt.

  2. 2

    Case studies illustrating the crippling challenge of credit card debt.

  3. 3

    Recommendations to address industry practices.

  4. 4

    Recommendations to address economic security.

  1. 5

    Why African-American and Latino families are more likely to be in debt than white families.

Key Takeaway

Access and Debt

Increasing numbers of African-American and Hispanic families gained access to credit cards throughout the 1990s, and both groups were also more likely to carry a credit card balance.

Percent of Cardholders With Credit Card Debt, 1992-2001

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations