Middle-income Americans age 50 and older are carrying more credit card debt on average than younger people, according to Dēmos’ 2012 National Survey on Credit Card Debt of Low- and Middle-Income Households. That’s a reversal of findings from a survey conducted by Dēmos in 2008. AARP’s Public Policy Institute collaborated with Dēmos to produce this report which reveals a troubling picture of middle-income 50+ households carrying card debt near or in their retirement years.
The report shows older households carried an average credit card balance of $8,278 in 2012. For those under 50, credit card debt averaged $6,258. Another key finding for middle income households that carried credit card debt for three months or more: a third of older households used credit cards to pay for basic living expenses like rent or mortgage payments, groceries or utilities.