Those who live in New Hampshire may be surprised to learn that 77 million Americans have a debt that is currently in collections. While that number may seem high, there are many reasons why a person could have a debt in collections, and some counted in that number have good credit and may not even know about the debt. This is often the case with those who have medical debt because some people in that situation may assume insurance paid the bill.

The numbers may also be skewed because the number only takes into account people who have a credit file. Those who don’t have a credit file may have more or less debt than the average American and may not have any accounts in collection.

Another factor to consider when talking about debt statistics is that most debt is in the form of a home loan. Americans who have a mortgage have an average of debt of $209,000 while those without a mortgage have an average debt load of $11,600. Hawaii is reported to have the highest amount of debt per person with $83,810 with the majority of that debt in the form of mortgage loans. The high debt level there is thought to be due to higher housing prices in the area. It was also determined that 20 percent of Americans with a credit report have no debt.

Declaring bankruptcy can be a fresh start for those dealing with a high level of credit card, medical or mortgage debt. Bankruptcy may be helpful because certain assets may be protected throughout the entire process. A bankruptcy attorney may be able to work with creditors to negotiate a debt settlement or help those who want their debts discharged through the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Source: Detroit Free Press, “A third of Americans delinquent on debt, study says”, Hadley Malcolm , July 29, 2014