Consumer spending recently picked up speed as the economy moves into the early stages of recovery. In 2010, consumers became smarter about finances but debt levels remain alarmingly high — especially in Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maine.

Consumers were forced to learned the importance of saving and smarter spending after the country suffered through a recession. High unemployment and the credit and housing crisis demonstrate that maybe there are still lessons to be learned.

Residents in Delaware had the most average debt per person, $20,233, according to a report by CareOne Services, a company that provides debt relief services. The state with consumers with the lowest average debt per resident of $12,801 was California.

“In the last few years, we have seen financial necessity cause more people to turn to credit cards to pay for daily expenses such as groceries, gas and utilities,” said Jenny Realo, a CPA and executive vice president of CareOne services. “But a growing number of people are realizing that their debt is a burden and seeking solutions to get their finances under control, pay down their debt and boost their savings.”

According to the president of CareOne, Mike Croxson, the typical debt-ridden consumer is a female in the mid-30s with a household income of roughly $37,000. This finding falls in line with the data from a previous report in August 2010 when CareOne found that there was an increasing number of women with mounting debt.

The “State of Debt Ranking” findings were based on a survey of over 135,000 people enrolled in debt management or debt settlement programs in 2009 and 2010.

StateAverage Consumer DebtAverage Number of CreditorsAverage Credit Score
Rhode Island$20,1307593
South Dakota$18,7077587
North Carolina$18,5366586
StateAverage Consumer DebtAverage Number of CreditorsAverage Credit ScoreStateAverage Consumer DebtAverage Number of CreditorsAverage Credit Score
Rhode Island$20,1307593Michigan$13,3285591
South Dakota$18,7077587Indiana$13,9455599
North Carolina$18,5366586Kentucky$14,0286590

Is your state on the lists above? How does your debt level compare to the reported numbers?

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Simon Zhen

Simon is a research analyst for MyBankTracker. He is an expert on consumer banking products, bank innovations and financial technology.
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