A young couple looks at a bill with the highest credit card debt balance they've seen

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It’s gone up in Florida and down in California this past year.

The economy is good, and unemployment rates are OK — but credit card debt is up in most major American cities.

Credit card balances have increased 9 percent in Miami and decreased 6 percent in San Francisco since 2017, according to loan referral service Lending Tree.

“What should we make of the rises and declines?” the study asks. “Both can be signs of a healthy economy. Full employment can lead to some households being more comfortable with spending, while others, often with significant savings and home equity, can retire relatively expensive credit card debts.”

Let’s take a look at where it’s highest and lowest…

Where credit card debt is decreasing

These cities are where the typical credit card debt improved most…

  • Dallas, Texas: 5 percent
  • Baltimore, Maryland: 4.5 percent
  • Charlotte, North Carolina: 2.2 percent
  • Atlanta, Georgia: 2.1 percent
  • Seattle, Washington: 1.5 percent

Where credit card debt increased

Ranked by how much it’s gone up this past year.

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 6 percent
  • New York, New York: 5.3 percent
  • Chicago, Illinois: 5.2 percent
  • San Antonio, Texas: 4.8 percent
  • Detroit, Michigan: 4.7 percent

Where is it always the highest and lowest? has made its own interactive map of how long it takes to get out of credit card debt while making the minimum payments. The state with the highest credit card debt per person is Alaska, while the lowest is Mississippi.

The average credit card debt per person in Alaska is $4,110. By making only the minimum payments, it will take the average credit card holder 20 years and seven months to pay that down. Not to mention the $4,617 they’ll have to pay in interest doing it that way.

And then in Mississippi, the average credit card debt per person is $1,850. It’ll take the average Mississippian “only” 13 years and 11 months to pay that debt down with minimum payments, with $1,792 to pay in interest.

How to get out of credit card debt

Credit card debt in the U.S. tops over $1 trillion now. It’s enough to make people crazy. Some people do go to pretty extreme lengths to pay off their credit card debt — like selling their hair and plasma — but it’s not necessary.

You can budget your income to make larger payments toward your debt. Chipping away with larger chunks will minimize the amount of time and interest needed to crawl out of the credit card hole. But, if money is an issue and the debts are too high for any budget to surmount, there are other options. Each option is based on each debtor’s unique situation and should be evaluated by a certified debt counselor.

One option is a debt management program. Howard Dvorkin, chairman of, says DMPs are “the most powerful tool for getting rid of credit card debt.” This can be used to reduce monthly payments by 30 to 50 percent.

DMPs are used to limit the profits the credit card companies receive — but guaranteeing they get something back instead of nothing — and allow debtors to pay back the principal that they owe. The credit counselor will help you set up a payment plan that fits your budget. You complete the program once all debts are paid-in-full, and are able to open new cards after if you wish.

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


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