Feb 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. household debt tops $14 trillion for first time

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets

Illustration: Sara Grillo

Household debt increased by more than $600 billion last year, topping $14 trillion for the first time and marking the largest one-year jump since 2007, new data from the New York Fed show.

Why now? The growth was driven mainly by a large increase in mortgage debt balances, which rose by $433 billion.

Between the lines: More young people are taking on credit cards, and there has been an increase in delinquencies since 2016, "notably among younger borrowers,” Wilbert Van Der Klaauw, SVP at the New York Fed, said in a statement.

  • About 41% of eligible Gen Zers (those born in the mid-1990s or later) had a credit card last year, compared to 34% of millennials reaching the same age in 2012, according to a new survey from TransUnion, per Bloomberg.
  • The average 24-year-old last year, owed about $2,000 on credit cards, about one-third more than millennials at that age in 2012, the study found.

But, but, but: While total household debt has risen, the level of household debt service as a percentage of disposable income has fallen to an all-time low, according to St. Louis Fed data.

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Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

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Why it matters: Up until now, the pandemic has struck hardest in relatively affluent countries. But it's now spreading fastest in countries where it will be even harder to track, treat and contain.

Minnesota activates National Guard amid fallout from George Floyd death

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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