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Most U.S. Personal Loans Are Under $20,000

Personal loan debt reached $305 billion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2019 and continues to grow faster than any other credit product. While total personal loan debt rose 12% in the past year, the average personal loan balance rose 3% over five years to an average of $16,259 in Q2 2019, according to Experian data.

As part of our ongoing analysis of personal debt in the U.S., we'll dive deeper into personal loan balances of consumers who currently have a personal loan, and take a look at how those balances are distributed across states and across balance amounts.

One feature of personal loans in the U.S. stands out: Consumers by and large are not carrying excessively high personal loan balances. The bulk of personal loan balances among U.S. consumers—nearly 80%—are $20,000 or lower. This figure has fallen a few percentage points in recent years, however, while the balance of personal loans $20,000 or higher has grown 14% since 2015.

Consumers who take personal loans may be consolidating existing debt, paying for a planned large purchase or wedding, or may be covering unexpected or emergency expenses, such as a car repair or medical payment.

Almost 80% of all personal loan balances are $20,000 or lower

Historical Percentage of Personal Loan Balance Amounts
YearAverage Balance$20K or less$20K - $40K$40K or more
2019$16,18179.7%11.8%8.5%
2018$16,26380.1%11.4%8.5%
2017$16,42180.4%11.1%8.5%
2016$16,44380.7%10.9%8.4%
2015$15,64682.2%10.4%7.4%

Source: Experian Q2 data from each year

North Dakota Has the Highest Percentage of Personal Loans in the U.S.

North Dakota was home to the highest percentage of consumers with a personal loan at 41.1% based on Experian data from Q2 2019. The states with the next-highest percentage of consumers who have personal loans were Mississippi, Wyoming, New Mexico and South Dakota. The District of Columbia was home to the lowest percentage of consumers with personal loans at 15.1%, followed by New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Percentage of Consumers With a Personal Loan by State
RankState%
1North Dakota41.10%
2Mississippi38.70%
3Wyoming38.00%
4New Mexico37.60%
5South Dakota36.90%
6Louisiana36.60%
7Oklahoma36.40%
8Alabama36.10%
9Texas36.10%
10South Carolina34.80%
11Tennessee34.80%
12Kentucky34.40%
13Montana33.40%
14Hawaii32.90%
15Idaho32.10%
16West Virginia31.40%
17Arkansas31.00%
18Alaska30.80%
19Nebraska30.20%
20Georgia30.00%
21Utah29.70%
22Vermont29.60%
23Maine29.50%
24Missouri29.50%
25Iowa29.40%
26Indiana28.90%
27Wisconsin27.80%
28Minnesota26.80%
29Kansas26.20%
30North Carolina26.10%
31Michigan26.00%
32Delaware25.70%
33Arizona25.10%
34Virginia25.10%
35Pennsylvania24.60%
36Colorado24.50%
37New Hampshire24.50%
38Washington23.80%
39Oregon23.70%
40Illinois23.40%
41Nevada23.40%
42California22.30%
43Ohio22.10%
44Maryland21.80%
45Florida20.00%
46New York18.00%
47Massachusetts16.90%
48Rhode Island16.70%
49Connecticut16.40%
50New Jersey15.20%
51District of Columbia15.10%

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Personal Loan Balances of $20,000 or Less Are Highest in District of Columbia

The District of Columbia was home to the highest percentage—81.2%—of personal loans with a balance of $20,000 or less. The average balance of loans under $20,000 across the U.S. came out to $5,300. Nevada had the highest average personal loan balance under $20,000 at $7,747. The states with the next-highest percentage of personal loans under $20,000 were Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Alaska held the lowest average balance of $5,035 among loans with a balance under $20,000.

Percentage of Personal Loan Balances of $20K or Less by State
RankState%Balance Amount
1District of Columbia84.50%$5,771
2Illinois83.80%$5,764
3Georgia83.30%$5,315
4Tennessee82.90%$5,472
5Kentucky82.60%$5,877
6Texas82.00%$5,035
7New York81.80%$6,386
8Pennsylvania81.80%$6,591
9Massachusetts81.50%$6,452
10Alabama81.20%$5,300
11Indiana81.20%$6,289
12Mississippi81.20%$5,385
13Hawaii81.10%$7,699
14Rhode Island81.10%$6,349
15California81.00%$5,464
16New Jersey81.00%$6,520
17South Carolina80.90%$5,183
18Ohio80.70%$6,532
19Connecticut80.40%$6,647
20Missouri80.40%$5,870
21Delaware80.10%$6,057
22Maryland80.10%$6,390
23Virginia80.00%$6,468
24Maine79.70%$6,393
25Wisconsin79.30%$6,430
26Louisiana79.20%$5,486
27Nebraska79.00%$6,665
28Michigan78.80%$6,362
29North Carolina78.70%$6,100
30Kansas78.60%$6,318
31Oklahoma78.50%$5,666
32New Mexico78.00%$5,502
33Iowa77.60%$6,581
34Florida77.20%$6,171
35Nevada77.00%$5,994
36New Hampshire75.90%$7,206
37Vermont75.70%$6,783
38Arizona75.60%$6,082
39Utah75.60%$6,332
40Colorado75.50%$6,665
41Minnesota75.50%$7,198
42West Virginia75.50%$7,357
43Arkansas73.40%$6,164
44Alaska72.30%$6,818
45Idaho70.30%$7,028
46Wyoming69.40%$7,355
47Montana68.90%$7,245
48Oregon68.10%$7,015
49South Dakota68.10%$6,978
50Washington66.80%$7,084
51North Dakota66.40%$7,747

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Personal Loan Balances of $20,000 to $40,000 Are Highest in North Dakota

Among all the states, North Dakota was home to the highest percentage, 18.7%, of personal loans with a balance of $20,000 to $40,000. The average balance in this range came out to $27,921, while South Carolina held the highest average personal loan balance between $20,000 to $40,000 at $28,296. The states with the next-highest percentage of personal loans were Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. Hawaii held the lowest average balance of $27,239 among loans with a balance between $20,000 to $40,000.

Percentage of Personal Loan Balances of $20K to $40K by State
RankState%Balance Amount
1North Dakota18.70%$27,921
2Montana17.10%$27,930
3Wyoming17.00%$28,239
4Idaho16.60%$27,839
5Washington16.60%$28,124
6Oregon15.90%$28,059
7Alaska15.70%$28,174
8Minnesota15.70%$27,636
9South Dakota15.70%$28,041
10Hawaii15.10%$27,239
11New Hampshire14.90%$27,753
12West Virginia14.90%$27,669
13Arkansas14.60%$28,205
14Vermont14.40%$27,830
15Utah14.10%$27,717
16Colorado14.00%$27,891
17Iowa13.50%$27,770
18Connecticut13.20%$27,579
19Michigan13.20%$27,744
20Nebraska13.10%$27,623
21Wisconsin12.90%$27,646
22Maryland12.70%$27,814
23New Jersey12.60%$27,620
24Nevada12.50%$27,881
25Kansas12.40%$27,768
26Maine12.40%$27,685
27Rhode Island12.40%$27,478
28Arizona12.20%$27,894
29Florida12.20%$27,969
30Massachusetts12.20%$27,407
31New York12.20%$27,667
32Virginia12.20%$27,594
33Ohio12.00%$27,517
34Oklahoma12.00%$27,939
35Missouri11.80%$27,642
36Delaware11.60%$27,908
37Indiana11.60%$27,392
38New Mexico11.60%$27,992
39North Carolina11.20%$27,991
40Pennsylvania11.10%$27,490
41Alabama10.80%$27,990
42California10.80%$27,791
43Illinois10.80%$27,572
44Louisiana10.80%$28,196
45District of Columbia10.70%$27,684
46Kentucky10.50%$27,618
47South Carolina10.30%$28,296
48Mississippi10.20%$28,293
49Texas10.10%$28,027
50Georgia9.90%$27,770
51Tennessee9.60%$27,694

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Personal Loan Balances of $40,000 or More Are Highest in Washington

Analyzing personal loans with a balance of $40,000 or more, Washington state had the highest percentage of 16.6%. The average balance came out to $106,920, while Colorado held the highest average personal loan balance of $116,401 for balances of $40,000 or more. The states with the next highest percentage of personal loans were South Dakota, Oregon, North Dakota and Montana. Hawaii was home to the lowest percentage of personal loans with a balance of $40,000 or more at 3.7%, and held the lowest average balance too, of $64,948.

Percentage of Personal Loan Balances of $40K or More by State
RankState%Balance Amount
1Washington16.60%$106,920
2South Dakota16.10%$105,225
3Oregon16.00%$105,661
4North Dakota14.90%$107,463
5Montana14.00%$102,738
6Wyoming13.50%$96,786
7Idaho13.10%$90,233
8Arizona12.10%$90,759
9Alaska12.00%$80,676
10Arkansas12.00%$100,230
11Florida10.60%$92,971
12Colorado10.50%$116,401
13Nevada10.50%$92,331
14New Mexico10.40%$89,869
15Utah10.20%$90,079
16Louisiana10.00%$93,996
17North Carolina10.00%$84,242
18Vermont10.00%$100,598
19Oklahoma9.60%$90,038
20West Virginia9.60%$80,584
21New Hampshire9.20%$92,614
22Iowa8.90%$100,317
23Kansas8.90%$110,975
24Minnesota8.80%$91,932
25South Carolina8.80%$85,134
26Mississippi8.60%$90,556
27Delaware8.30%$91,603
28California8.20%$103,394
29Alabama8.00%$80,586
30Michigan8.00%$84,663
31Maine7.90%$82,835
32Nebraska7.90%$97,308
33Texas7.90%$96,138
34Virginia7.90%$89,418
35Missouri7.80%$91,964
36Wisconsin7.80%$112,360
37Tennessee7.50%$109,874
38Indiana7.30%$89,172
39Ohio7.30%$93,173
40Maryland7.20%$93,914
41Pennsylvania7.00%$92,636
42Kentucky6.90%$88,236
43Georgia6.80%$93,630
44Rhode Island6.40%$91,922
45Connecticut6.30%$97,275
46Massachusetts6.30%$98,806
47New Jersey6.30%$104,137
48New York6.00%$107,418
49Illinois5.40%$106,092
50District of Columbia4.70%$107,111
51Hawaii3.70%$64,948

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data


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Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

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