How Credit Card Debt Burdens Vary Across Cities in Texas - 2017 Report

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In this study, we evaluated how credit card debt varies throughout Texas in relation to household incomes. By examining the card debt-to-income (CDTI) ratio, we were able to get one measure of the financial burden these products create across the state. The average household in Texas has an income of $81,289 and carries a balance of $6,948 on their credit cards, placing their CDTI ratio at 8.5%. Depending on where you live in the Lone Star State, your burden may be over 50% higher or lower than the typical Texan household.

Cities With The Highest Credit Card Debt Burden

  • Balch Springs, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $7,175
    • Average Household Income: $52,635
    • CDTI Ratio: 13.63%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: +59%

  • Brownsville, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $6,494
    • Average Household Income: $48,527
    • CDTI Ratio: 13.38%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: +57%

  • Laredo, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $7,283
    • Average Household Income: $56,662
    • CDTI Ratio: 12.85%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: +50%

  • San Benito, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $5,703
    • Average Household Income: $44,524
    • CDTI Ratio: 12.81%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: +50%

  • Lancaster, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $8,265
    • Average Household Income: $65,143
    • CDTI Ratio: 12.69%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: +48%

The top cities with the highest credit card debt to income ratios all shared one of two geographic similarities. They were either clustered on the outskirts of Dallas or spread out across the U.S.-Mexico border. With a handful of exceptions, these cities generally had average household incomes below $55,000, significantly lower than the roughly $80,000 state average. The city with the highest debt-to-income ratio, Balch Springs, was 59% more burdened than the rest of the state.

Cities With The Lowest Credit Card Debt Burden

  • University Park, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $10,885
    • Average Household Income: $242,163
    • CDTI Ratio: 4.49%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: -47%

  • Sugar Land, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $7,006
    • Average Household Income: $154,518
    • CDTI Ratio: 4.53%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: -47%

  • Southlake, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $11,038
    • Average Household Income: $234,894
    • CDTI Ratio: 4.70%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: -45%

  • Colleyville, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $9,874
    • Average Household Income: $206,591
    • CDTI Ratio: 4.78%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: -44%

  • Friendswood, TX

    • Average Credit Card Debt: $6,746
    • Average Household Income: $135,865
    • CDTI Ratio: 4.97%
    • CDTI Compared to State Average: -42%

Unsurprisingly, high-income cities like University Park and Southlake feel less of a sting from their credit card debt. This is despite the fact that these cities also consistently carry higher balances than the rest of Texas. Interestingly, even though the average credit card debt in some of these cities in on par with the Texas average, their mean incomes are, in some cases, $50,000 higher than the rest of the state. Therefore, the debt is likely to carry less weight in these cities than in other parts of Texas.

How Did The Severity of Credit Card Debt Vary Geographically?

The map above shows how counties throughout Texas ranked in our study of credit card debt. The darker spots on the map generally have lower amounts of debt as a percentage of median household incomes in those areas. The data suggests areas along the Mexico border tend to have higher credit card debt. Residents in many of these areas generally have lower average incomes and worse credit scores than those living in urban hubs like Austin or Dallas. Zapata County, home of over 14,000 residents, reported the weakest performance out of all locations.

The geographic data also tracks well to a map published by the New York Federal Reserve Bank in 2016 on the availability and quality of credit. Low-income counties typically have fewer credit cards per capita. Credit scores of those living within these counties tend to be much lower, hurting their access to credit. Therefore, even if some residents within these counties may need to open a credit card, the New York Fed study found they cannot do so. In Zapata, Starr and Willacy counties, less than 50% of the population has a credit card or a home equity line of credit. That is significantly lower than the 71.9% national average, and the 66.2% Texas average.

A List of All Cities We Examined in Texas

RankCityAverage Household Credit Card DebtAverage Household IncomeCDTI RatioCompared to State Average
1University Park$10,885$242,1634.49%-47%
2Sugar Land$7,006$154,5184.53%-47%
3Southlake$11,038$234,8944.70%-45%
4Colleyville$9,874$206,5914.78%-44%
5Friendswood$6,746$135,8654.97%-42%
6Georgetown$4,851$84,9355.71%-33%
7Missouri City$6,828$116,5325.86%-31%
8Lake Jackson$6,273$97,1356.46%-24%
9Galveston$4,120$62,3826.61%-23%
10League City$7,819$117,6136.65%-22%
11Houston$5,418$80,9366.69%-22%
12Austin$5,819$86,2816.74%-21%
13Pearland$8,660$122,7677.05%-17%
14Schertz$6,589$91,7487.18%-16%
15Deer Park$6,781$93,8197.23%-15%
16Coppell$11,060$152,5157.25%-15%
17Round Rock$6,872$94,1817.30%-15%
18Keller$10,859$148,6327.31%-15%
19Leander$7,389$100,1257.38%-14%
20New Braunfels$5,574$75,4837.39%-14%
21Conroe$5,279$71,1477.42%-13%
22Pflugerville$7,265$97,0887.48%-12%
23Flower Mound town$11,715$153,8987.61%-11%
24San Antonio$5,140$67,0957.66%-10%
25Seguin$4,515$58,7447.69%-10%
26Palmhurst$6,047$77,2207.83%-8%
27Plano$9,761$123,7217.89%-8%
28La Porte$6,836$86,1367.94%-7%
29Pasadena$5,330$66,6498.00%-6%
30Grapevine$9,007$111,6998.06%-6%
31McAllen$5,226$64,6738.08%-5%
32Alvin$5,498$67,8888.10%-5%
33El Paso$4,935$60,9188.10%-5%
34Rosenberg$5,888$72,6228.11%-5%
35Baytown$5,497$67,4058.15%-5%
36Texas City$4,986$59,0808.44%-1%
37Allen$12,101$143,3388.44%-1%
State Average$6,948$81,2898.55%
38Kerrville$5,301$62,0118.55%0%
39Midland$9,592$109,2828.78%+3%
40San Marcos$3,834$43,0278.91%+4%
41Frisco$13,172$146,5708.99%+5%
42Richardson$8,956$99,5509.00%+5%
43Mission$5,403$59,7799.04%+6%
44Edinburg$5,441$59,6469.12%+7%
45South Houston$4,847$52,7999.18%+7%
46Kyle$7,563$81,3269.30%+9%
47Weslaco$4,377$46,9229.33%+9%
48Rockwall$10,193$108,2129.42%+10%
49Bedford$7,738$82,1479.42%+10%
50Carrollton$9,272$97,9259.47%+11%
51Tyler$6,275$66,1649.48%+11%
52North Richland Hills$8,311$86,9379.56%+12%
53Farmers Branch$7,862$81,6529.63%+13%
54Hurst$7,925$82,2949.63%+13%
55San Juan$5,145$53,4139.63%+13%
56Temple$6,826$69,7629.78%+14%
57Pharr$4,960$50,3049.86%+15%
58Odessa$8,562$86,6589.88%+16%
59Dallas$7,627$76,3309.99%+17%
60San Angelo$6,783$67,71810.02%+17%
61McKinney$11,570$115,33310.03%+17%
62Corpus Christi$7,348$73,23610.03%+17%
63Victoria$7,144$71,19310.04%+17%
64Longview$6,809$67,49810.09%+18%
65Sherman$6,486$64,24810.10%+18%
66Denison$6,382$63,09810.11%+18%
67Abilene$6,426$63,49910.12%+18%
68Beaumont$6,262$61,78210.13%+19%
69Wichita Falls$6,401$63,15010.14%+19%
70Pinehurst$5,433$53,41910.17%+19%
71Harker Heights$8,038$78,91410.19%+19%
72Mansfield$11,284$110,72510.19%+19%
73Rowlett$10,267$100,71810.19%+19%
74Socorro$4,214$41,07510.26%+20%
75Cedar Hill$8,828$85,99110.27%+20%
76Weatherford$8,329$80,75110.31%+21%
77Todd Mission$6,362$61,52510.34%+21%
78Lubbock$6,821$65,75510.37%+21%
79Texarkana$5,771$55,05310.48%+23%
80Duncanville$7,300$69,58110.49%+23%
81Irving$8,198$77,81810.53%+23%
82Euless$8,232$78,07510.54%+23%
83Corsicana$5,795$54,73610.59%+24%
84Amarillo$7,269$68,35510.63%+24%
85Lufkin$6,047$56,82710.64%+24%
86Bryan$6,393$60,05810.64%+25%
87The Colony$10,172$95,24710.68%+25%
88Paris$5,608$52,09910.76%+26%
89Plainview$6,034$55,87210.80%+26%
90DeSoto$8,243$76,21310.82%+27%
91College Station$6,956$63,87110.89%+27%
92Lake Dallas$9,395$85,84010.94%+28%
93Garland$7,693$70,09310.98%+28%
94Waco$5,873$53,47510.98%+28%
95Arlington$8,197$74,57210.99%+29%
96Waxahachie$7,853$71,34611.01%+29%
97Lewisville$8,877$80,59411.01%+29%
98Big Spring$7,001$63,55811.02%+29%
99Marshall$6,194$56,07811.05%+29%
100Denton$7,837$70,24811.16%+31%
101Copperas Cove$7,154$64,03211.17%+31%
102Burleson$9,501$83,00111.45%+34%
103Huntsville$5,651$49,28611.47%+34%
104Kingsville$6,151$53,39611.52%+35%
105Grand Prairie$8,812$76,29411.55%+35%
106Mesquite$7,665$66,21211.58%+35%
107Watauga$9,150$78,84311.61%+36%
108Fort Worth$8,740$74,96111.66%+36%
109Harlingen$6,136$52,48511.69%+37%
110Port Arthur$5,932$50,33011.79%+38%
111Nacogdoches$5,645$47,84011.80%+38%
112Haltom City$7,260$61,29511.84%+39%
113Killeen$7,421$62,23611.92%+40%
114Del Rio$7,169$59,72512.00%+40%
115Cleburne$7,550$62,73712.03%+41%
116Wylie$12,471$103,56212.04%+41%
117Eagle Pass$6,605$54,83212.05%+41%
118Little Elm$12,915$103,57612.47%+46%
119Greenville$6,692$53,42212.53%+47%
120Lancaster$8,265$65,14312.69%+48%
121San Benito$5,703$44,52412.81%+50%
122Laredo$7,283$56,66212.85%+50%
123Brownsville$6,494$48,52713.38%+57%
124Balch Springs$7,175$52,63513.63%+59%

Methodology

To conduct this study, we generated credit card reports based on Nielsen Demographic Data. The Nielsen Financial CLOUT data set provides geography-based estimates of market penetration and user household dollar volume for a wide range of financial products and services. According to the company’s methodology, “the databases were generated using statistical models developed from the Nielsen Market Audit.” Nielsen’s models are built on three years worth of survey results, across approximately 75,000 respondents. The biggest limitation of the market audit data is that it is currently made up of online surveys only, which can introduce a level of bias into the sample.

For the purposes of the report, we examined data for 124 of the most populated cities throughout Texas. The reports we generated excluded small villages and census designated placed.

Sources: Nielsen CLOUT Financial Data
New York Federal Reserve Bank Community Credit Study

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