Numbers don't lie
A study released by the Urban Institute on Tuesday found that more than 35 percent of Americans have unpaid bills and debt that has been reported to collection agencies.
The debts surveyed include everything from gym memberships to auto loans. The study, which looked at records from September 2013, found that 35.1 percent of people with credit records had been reported to collection agencies. The average debt was $5,178.
The Associated Press notes that while America has decreased its credit card debt, the percentage of Americans in collections has remained roughly the same. In 2004, a Federal Reserve study found that 36.5 percent of Americans were in collections.
Also of note is the fact that unpaid debts are concentrated in Southern and Western states, with Texas in the lead. Five Texas cities — Dallas, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio — have more than 40 percent of their populations reported to collection agencies. In addition, nearly half of Las Vegas residents have debts that are in collections.