State by State: Where Americans Are Best and Worst at Managing Debt

Data from more than half a million borrowers shows that people lower-income states often manage their debt better than those where incomes are higher.

1. Michigan

susan-montgomery /

Yes, Michigan is the state where residents spend the smallest portion of their monthly income making payments on their debt and housing costs — just over 25 percent. In part, the study explains, the state’s low housing costs relative to incomes plays a role, helping residents hang on to more of their paychecks. Here are the numbers that went into that calculation.

Monthly debt-to-income ratio: 25.27 percent

  • Average monthly credit card payment: $198
  • Average monthly student loan payment: $354
  • Average monthly housing payment: $725
  • Average annual income: $60,642


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