New Survey Finds Americans More Worried About Debt Than Terrorist Attacks

In July 19, 2006

A new national survey was released today showing that Americans are more worried about not being able to pay their bills than they are about terrorist attacks. The survey was co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress, a non-partisan think tank. “Public Recognizes Debt as a Fast Growing Problem in U.S.” discusses the survey in more depth and contains a link to the actual publication in PDF format.

Several interesting facts jump out immediately from the published report:

1. Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed reported household debt as a serious problem, and more than 80% reported debt as a somewhat serious problem for their household.

2. Nearly everyone surveyed (86%) believes that the number of Americans having trouble with household debt has increased in the past 5 years.

3. The public is more worried about falling into debt, particularly from medical bills, than about being the victim of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, with 48% of respondents stating their top worry as “not having enough money to pay bills.”

4. Credit card debt is the leading type of debt among senior citizens, to a greater extent than for any other generational subgroup.

5. Only 51% are able to pay off their entire credit card bill every month.

This survey publication comes on the heels of an announcement last week by the Federal Reserve that revolving debt had climbed to $813 billion in May. The increase in May alone was $6.7 billion, up 10% from the prior month’s increase. (Note: Revolving debt is primarily credit card debt.)

Clearly, the debt burden on the American consumer is mounting relentlessly, month after month.


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