The Increasing Financial Obligations Burden of U.S. Households: Who is Affected?
International Journal of Consumer Studies, 2012, 36, 588–594
Posted: 20 May 2012 Last revised: 25 Aug 2012
Date Written: May 19, 2012
The purpose of this paper is to examine factors associated with changes in the proportion of households with high financial obligations ratios in the United States. The proportion of households paying more than 40% of income for debt, rent, vehicle leases, property taxes, and homeowners insurance, which we refer to as having a heavy burden, increased from 18% in 1992 to 27% in 2007. Multivariate analysis of a combination of six Survey of Consumer Finances datasets indicates that the likelihood of having a heavy burden was positively associated with homeownership, self-employment, and retirement status. Those with an optimistic five year expectation of the economy were more likely to be in a household with a heavy burden. Education was positively related to having a heavy burden, suggesting that having a heavy burden is not simply a cognitive error.
Keywords: Borrowing Decisions, Household Debt, Financial obligations, Education, Expectations
JEL Classification: C250, D120, G210, G330
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation