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Counties with the most household debt in every state

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Tyler // Flickr

Counties with the most household debt in every state

Nearly every family in America has a chunk of household debt, which nationwide amounts to almost $14 trillion. That's a staggering sum. Just counting that high out loud would take nearly 444,000 years.

For families, household debt can easily overwhelm as interest payments pile up and exceed the monthly payments, growing the debt in the face of efforts to knock it back. An unexpected health expense or loss of income can be devastating. In financially overburdened areas of the nation, debt can outweigh income dramatically. One in six Americans fears they will be in debt all their lives, according to the well-respected Northwestern Mutual 2019 Planning & Progress Study. One in five Americans said their debt makes them feel physically sick at least once a month.

More broadly, the weight of household debt is linked to the severity of economic recession and recovery, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. In an economic downturn, households with an outsized debt have less to spend and less of a financial cushion to fall back upon.

The biggest portion of household debt is mortgage balances, a debt that helps keep a roof over our heads. Other household debts are auto loans, credit card balances, and student loans. Critical to assessing the burden of such debt is to look at the household debt-to-income ratio, or monthly debt payments divided by monthly income.

For example, if a family pays $1,500 toward a mortgage, $200 on credit card balances, $200 for a car loan, and $100 on a student loan, the monthly debt payments would total $2,000. If their gross monthly income is $5,000, and $2,000 is 40% of $5,000, the debt-to-income ratio would be 40.

Lenders use a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio to determine a household’s ability to manage its monthly payments. The higher the number, the more likely a family will struggle to make its payments. A debt ratio of 43 is typically the highest debt-to-income ratio permitted for a borrower to qualify for a mortgage, according to the U.S. government’s Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. Financial experts often suggest it should be far lower at 30 or so.

To find out which county from every state carries the highest median household debt-to-income ratio from 2018, Stacker looked at data from the Federal Reserve’s Enhanced Financial Accounts (last updated June 21, 2019) and 2017-2018 county statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau (the most recent available). To be considered for this gallery, a county had to have at least 2,500 residents. All counties were ranked by the median county household debt-to-income ratio for each state.

Debt-to-income ratios are provided in this gallery with decimal points to represent percentages—so a county with a debt-income ratio of 40 would be presented as .4. Keeping in mind that financial experts recommend a personal debt-to-income ratio of 30% (.3) or less, it’s staggering to see that several counties in the U.S. have median debt-to-income ratios of over 400 (4.0 or higher). Keep reading to find out which counties have median household debt-to-income ratios more than 400% higher than the state ratio—and where almost a quarter of residents in on county live in poverty.

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Roger Givens // Shutterstock

Alabama: Blount County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.46 (231.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.35
- County population: 57,840
- Median household income: $47,412
- County residents in poverty: 12.8%

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EQRoy // Shutterstock

Alaska: Matanuska-Susitna Borough

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.42 (167.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.66
- County population: 107,610
- Median household income: $74,887
- County residents in poverty: 11.3%

[Pictured: Independence Mine State Historical Park in Matanuska-Susitna Borough County.]

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Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz

Arizona: Pinal County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.58 (161% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.75
- County population: 447,138
- Median household income: $52,628
- County residents in poverty: 13%

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Jimmy Emerson // Flickr

Arkansas: Searcy County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.78 (281.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.25
- County population: 7,958
- Median household income: $36,716
- County residents in poverty: 21.6%

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Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

California: Calaveras County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.96 (256.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.67
- County population: 45,602
- Median household income: $54,800
- County residents in poverty: 13.1%

[Pictured: Angels Camp, CA in Calaveras County.]

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Cobra0435 // Flickr

Colorado: Elbert County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 9.01 (413.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.75
- County population: 26,282
- Median household income: $92,849
- County residents in poverty: 4.9%

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Ynsalh // Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Litchfield County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.77 (100.9% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.38
- County population: 181,111
- Median household income: $76,438
- County residents in poverty: 6.9%

[Pictured: New Milford, CT in Litchfield County.]

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Graves Creative Design // Shutterstock

Delaware: Sussex County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.67 (72.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.55
- County population: 229,286
- Median household income: $57,901
- County residents in poverty: 11.9%

[Pictured: Rehoboth, DE in Sussex County]

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Norm Lane // Shutterstock

Florida: Santa Rosa County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.90 (198.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.64
- County population: 179,349
- Median household income: $62,731
- County residents in poverty: 10.2%

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Bubba73 // Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Long County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 9.84 (576.7% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.45
- County population: 18,998
- Median household income: $53,083
- County residents in poverty: 19.1%

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pikappa51 // Shutterstock

Hawaii: Maui County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.33 (11.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 2.10
- County population: 167,207
- Median household income: $72,762
- County residents in poverty: 10%

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Susan Borsch // Shutterstock

Idaho: Boise County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 7.16 (297% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.80
- County population: 7,634
- Median household income: $49,964
- County residents in poverty: 12.1%

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Randy von Liski // Flickr

Illinois: Menard County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.68 (378.8% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.19
- County population: 12,288
- Median household income: $62,368
- County residents in poverty: 8.7%

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

Indiana: Ohio County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 6.70 (461.9% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.19
- County population: 5,844
- Median household income: $58,359
- County residents in poverty: 9.3%

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Michael Leland // Flickr

Iowa: Warren County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.93 (242.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.15
- County population: 51,056
- Median household income: $71,514
- County residents in poverty: 6.1%

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Aaron Hall // Flickr

Kansas: Wabaunsee County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.93 (251.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.12
- County population: 6,899
- Median household income: $58,947
- County residents in poverty: 7.6%

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

Kentucky: Spencer County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 13.00 (1,012.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.17
- County population: 18,794
- Median household income: $68,916
- County residents in poverty: 7.5%

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Judy M Darby // Shutterstock

Louisiana: Livingston County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.80 (187.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.32
- County population: 139,567
- Median household income: $60,456
- County residents in poverty: 11.4%

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quiggyt4 // Shutterstock

Maine: Lincoln County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.66 (68.6% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.58
- County population: 34,342
- Median household income: $54,041
- County residents in poverty: 11.4%

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Chesapeake Bay Program // Flickr

Maryland: Charles County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.91 (208.8% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.91
- County population: 161,503
- Median household income: $93,973
- County residents in poverty: 7.5%

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Jimmy Emerson // Flickr

Massachusetts: Dukes County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.79 (208.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.23
- County population: 17,352
- Median household income: $67,535
- County residents in poverty: 7.6%

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Doug Lemke // Shutterstock

Michigan: Baraga County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.00 (335.7% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.15
- County population: 8,320
- Median household income: $42,757
- County residents in poverty: 16.7%

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

Minnesota: Chisago County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.33 (157.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.29
- County population: 55,922
- Median household income: $76,747
- County residents in poverty: 6.1%

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Tom Gill // Flickr

Mississippi: Carroll County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.78 (243.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.39
- County population: 9,911
- Median household income: $43,068
- County residents in poverty: 17.6%

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: Andrew County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.01 (311.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.22
- County population: 17,607
- Median household income: $56,658
- County residents in poverty: 8%

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WolfeMcKeel // Flickr

Montana: Jefferson County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.97 (191.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.71
- County population: 12,097
- Median household income: $64,911
- County residents in poverty: 8.4%

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Jimmy Emerson // Flickr

Nebraska: Cass County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.19 (342.9% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.17
- County population: 26,159
- Median household income: $68,284
- County residents in poverty: 6%

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Dominic Gentilcore // Shutterstock

Nevada: Lyon County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.67 (120.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.67
- County population: 55,808
- Median household income: $50,920
- County residents in poverty: 10.8%

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Surabhi Surendra // Shutterstock

New Hampshire: Belknap County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.50 (62.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.54
- County population: 61,022
- Median household income: $65,834
- County residents in poverty: 8.3%

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Andrew F. Kazmierski // Shutterstock

New Jersey: Sussex County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.01 (166.5% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.51
- County population: 140,799
- Median household income: $89,238
- County residents in poverty: 5.3%

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Riverrat303 // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: Sandoval County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.54 (197.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.53
- County population: 145,179
- Median household income: $60,345
- County residents in poverty: 15.3%

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Nancy Kennedy // Shutterstock

New York: Putnam County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.29 (246.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 0.95
- County population: 98,892
- Median household income: $99,608
- County residents in poverty: 5.4%

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Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

North Carolina: Camden County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 10.00 (560.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.52
- County population: 10,710
- Median household income: $68,327
- County residents in poverty: 8%

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

North Dakota: LaMoure County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.20 (118.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.01
- County population: 4,062
- Median household income: $57,463
- County residents in poverty: 10.3%

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

Ohio: Brown County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.64 (221.9% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.13
- County population: 43,602
- Median household income: $49,188
- County residents in poverty: 16.9%

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geoff dude // Flickr

Oklahoma: Wagoner County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 6.41 (436.5% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.20
- County population: 80,110
- Median household income: $59,210
- County residents in poverty: 10%

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kenneth korb // Shutterstock

Oregon: Columbia County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.27 (219.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.65
- County population: 52,377
- Median household income: $57,449
- County residents in poverty: 12.3%

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Nicholas // Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: Pike County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 5.74 (370.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.22
- County population: 55,933
- Median household income: $63,417
- County residents in poverty: 9.1%

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Katie Manfredi // Flickr

Rhode Island: Bristol County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.99 (236.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.48
- County population: 48,649
- Median household income: $74,630
- County residents in poverty: 7.7%

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Duane Huff // Flickr

South Carolina: Dorchester County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.50 (105.3% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.70
- County population: 160,647
- Median household income: $58,685
- County residents in poverty: 10%

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Lars Plougmann // Flickr

South Dakota: Campbell County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.86 (132.7% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.23
- County population: 5,546
- Median household income: $60,808
- County residents in poverty: 9.4%

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Viktoriana // Shutterstock

Tennessee: Union County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 6.71 (438.6% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.25
- County population: 19,688
- Median household income: $40,132
- County residents in poverty: 19%

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Adavyd // Wikimedia Commons

Texas: San Jacinto County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 8.11 (609.5% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.14
- County population: 48,867
- Median household income: $48,025
- County residents in poverty: 18.2%

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Tyler // Flickr

Utah: Morgan County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.69 (186.2% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.64
- County population: 12,045
- Median household income: $86,071
- County residents in poverty: 4.1%

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vermontalm // Shutterstock

Vermont: Grand Isle County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 8.24 (492.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.39
- County population: 7,090
- Median household income: $66,111
- County residents in poverty: 8.2%

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Jimmy Emerson // Flickr

Virginia: Poquoson County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 15.00 (726.4% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.82
- County population: 12,190
- Median household income: $88,328
- County residents in poverty: 5%

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Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

Washington: Island County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 6.51 (302% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.62
- County population: 84,460
- Median household income: $61,516
- County residents in poverty: 9.2%

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

West Virginia: Wirt County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 4.98 (319.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.19
- County population: 5,830
- Median household income: $38,936
- County residents in poverty: 19.2%

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Elvis Kennedy // Flickr

Wisconsin: Oconto County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 3.92 (241.5% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.15
- County population: 37,830
- Median household income: $55,762
- County residents in poverty: 9%

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JimCottingham // Shutterstock

Wyoming: Crook County

- Median county household debt-to-income ratio: 2.74 (88.1% higher than state ratio)
- Median state household debt-to-income ratio: 1.46
- County population: 7,450
- Median household income: $66,944
- County residents in poverty: 7.7%

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