The Burden Of Debt

21% of Americans Have Given up Hope of Ever Becoming Debt Free in Their Lifetime

Author takes a ‘deep dive’ into the psychology of debt

New research from Data United LDS reveals growing concerns among consumers in debt about paying it down and restoring their credit . Access the survey here.

MIAMI, April 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — One of the key findings in a new consumer debt survey which was conducted over a 12 year period (between 2010 and 2022) by Data United LDS™ is that 21% of Americans have given up hope of ever becoming debt free in their lifetime.

Key findings, interactive embeddable maps, graphs, and charts published here.

“I wanted to take a deep dive in to understanding how personal debt affects people psychologically. I want to know more than just what their numbers are (credit score, monthly income, age, total debt),said Catherine Dean, Project Lead at Data United LDS™. “I want to shed light on their plight, because I went through personal bankruptcy myself. It was terrifying and soul crushing.”

Other findings include:

  • Debt Stress Survey Results by U.S. State / Key Findings:
  • Highest debt stress reported in Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Maryland
  • Lowest debt stress reported in the center of the U.S. and the “Rust Belt”
  • Debt Stress Survey Question of Hope / Key Findings:
I want to shed light on their plight, because I went through personal bankruptcy myself. It was terrifying and soul crushing...

Respondents were asked, “Do you think you will ever be out of debt in your lifetime?”

  • 21% of respondents said they’ve given up hope they will ever be debt free
  • 27% of respondents said they don’t know if they will ever be debt free

Debt Stress Survey on Financial Education / Key Findings:

  • 62% of respondents said they had zero financial education from parents and/or school

“We have a lot of data to share, and we’re working around the clock to finalize all findings for publication. This has been the largest undertaking in my career as a survey data analyst.

“I came in late to the project which spanned from 2010 to 2022. There was a massive amount of respondent content to organize and correlate when I arrived. The goal sample size was chosen by a management team with zero experience conducting surveys. Their theory was the larger the sample size, the smaller the margin of error, giving their findings more weight.

“They had no idea how big an undertaking they had started,” said Dean.