The rapid rise in debt among American households over the last decade is well documented, but it is not well understood. Prior to the survey findings presented in this paper, there have been no data available to study how many American households are using credit cards and how they are managing their debt. To answer these questions, Demos, along with the Center for Responsible Lending, commissioned a national household survey of households with credit card debt.

The survey provides new information about why households are in credit card debt, how long they have carried their debt and the impact this debt has had on their economic security. American families are turning to credit cards to make ends meet in an increasingly volatile economy.

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