| July 29, 2009

Families with lower incomes relying on credit card debt

When it comes to budgeting and managing money, a new survey shows families with lower incomes may be relying more on credit card debt.

The survey was conducted by Demos, a firm that works for political advocacy and researches public policy. The results of the survey were published in a report called The Plastic Safety Net: How Households are Coping in a Fragile Economy.

According to the report, about one-third of low- and middle-income households surveyed relied on credit cards in order to fund basic needs, including making mortgage payments and buying groceries.

Lower income families surveyed also used credit card debt in order to fund unexpected expenses. The report shows that 75 percent of respondents used their credit cards for things like car and home repairs and for dealing with unemployment.

Overall, the average credit card debt of low- and middle-income households is $9,827, and the report states that families spend 5.1 years in credit card debt on average.

The survey comes after a report by Moody’s that shows credit card charge offs have increased. Charge offs, which are debts banks no longer expect will be settled, were up 10.76 percent during the month of June.

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