WASHINGTON-What age group had the largest increase in credit card debt over the four-year period from 2004 to 2007?

The October 2009 EBRI Notes answers that question and provides other data about credit debt for families with a family head age 55 or older. Here are some of the details:

  • The median amount (mid-point, half above and half below) owed by all families having credit card debt increased to $3,000 in 2007, up from $2,197 (in 2007 dollars) in 2004, up almost 37 percent.
  • The increase was largest for families with a family head near the age of retirement, ages 55-64, where the median amount owed increased to $3,600 in 2007, up from $2,416 in 2004, up nearly 50 percent.
  • The median amount of credit card debt for families with a head age 75 or older actually decreased over the 2004-2007 period, from $1,098 to $800, down 27 percent.

The 2007 data are the latest available, and show that debt levels-especially for those nearing or in retirement-have been rising. The full report, in the October EBRI Notes, is titled "Debt of the Elderly and Near Elderly, 1992-2007," and is available at www.ebri.org

Employee Benefit Research Institute
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