The top 10 most indebted states in the US

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The top 10 most indebted states in the US

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Personal-finance technology company SmartAsset.com recently ranked the top 10 U.S. states (and, in one case, federal district) whose citizens have the most personal debt. Key findings included:

  • Richer states have more debt: The top 10 states or districts with the most debt (i.e., highest debt-to-income levels) have an average income of $31,832. The 10 with the lowest debt-to-income ratios have an average income of $26,754.
  • Most debt = mortgages: On average, the top 10 highest-debt states or districts have just under two-thirds of debt tied up in housing. The bottom 10 have around 60 percent of income in mortgages.
  • Big divide: The most leveraged state or district has twice as much debt per capita as the state with the least debt.

CNBC.com shares excerpts from the article by Derek Miller of Smartasset.com below.

  • 10. Maryland

    "The Old Line State [heads] our top 10 states [list] with the highest debt-to-income ratios. Maryland residents are some of the most well off in the country, with an average individual income of $36,316. In terms of debt, Maryland residents have $67,020 in per-capita debt, meaning their debt-to-income ratio is 1.84."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Downtown Baltimore, Maryland
    Greg Pease | Getty Images
  • 9. Massachusetts

    "On average, Massachusetts residents earn about $32,352 per year and have about $59,820 in debt per capita. That works out to a debt-to-income ratio of 1.84. Once again, like other states, the majority of that debt is mortgage debt. About 72 percent of per-capita debt in the Bay State is mortgage debt. The state's residents don't take on as much credit card debt as other states do. About 5.45 percent of per-capita [debt] is tied up in credit-card debt."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Danita Delimont | Gallo Images | Getty Images
  • 8. Washington

    "Washington ... comes in eighth for highest debt-to-income ratio. The state has the third-lowest percent of debt tied up in student loans (6.29 percent) but the third-highest percent of debt tied up in mortgages (75.35 percent). Washingtonians also tend to be some of the most responsible holders of debt in the country. They rank above average in delinquency rates on all types of debt and rank in the top 10 for lowest rates of auto loan delinquency and credit-card delinquency."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Espiegle | iStock | Getty Images
  • 7. Oregon

    "Oregon has a debt-to-income ratio of 1.89. On average, Oregonians make less than many other states in the top 10. The median income in the Beaver State is $26,188, according the U.S. Census Bureau. Oregon also has the least per capita debt in the top 10, at $49,550 per resident. For the most part, Oregonians choose to go into debt to buy homes. Over 72 percent of overall debt is held in mortgages. One area where Oregonians struggle is in paying off credit-card debt. Just over 7 percent of all credit-card debt in the state is delinquent. One way to eliminate credit-card debt is using a balance transfer credit card. With a balance-transfer credit card, new users typically have a limited time to make no-interest payments."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    jose1983 | iStock | Getty Images
  • 6. District of Columbia

    "Almost 15 percent of all debt held in the nation's capital is owed on student-loan debt. All that higher education may be paying off, though. D.C. has the highest median income in the country and over half of the population over the age of 25 has at least a bachelor's degree. In fact, there are more people over the age of 25 in D.C. with a graduate degree (32.3 percent) than there are with only a bachelor's degree (23.8%). The capital also has the lowest percent of debt in the country tied up in auto loans (3.35 percent), probably due to the accessible public transportation available in the area.

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Washington D.C.
    Jess Escribano | EyeEm | Getty Images
  • 5. Utah

    "Like the rest of the top 10, Utah residents have the vast majority of their debt tied up in mortgages. Utah residents have $52,150 in per-capita debt, $38,240 of which is mortgage debt. The state also has one of the lowest delinquency rates for mortgage debt. Only 1.05 percent of mortgage debt is 90 days past due in Utah. Again this may partially explain why lenders are so willing to lend to Utahans looking for mortgages."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Salt Lake City, Utah.
    Ferrantraite | Getty Images
  • 4. Colorado

    "Of Colorado's total debt, 6.85 percent is tied up in automobile debt. That's the second-highest rate in the top 10. However it is quite a bit lower than the national average of 9.57 percent. Overall, there is not much separating Colorado from [the next state up in the ranking]: Colorado has a debt-to-income ratio of 1.96. The median income in Colorado is $31,664 and the per capita debt is $62,200."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Cripple Creek, Colorado
    John Greim | LightRocket | Getty Images
  • 3. Virginia

    "Virginia comes in third, with a debt-to-income ratio just below 2. The average Virginian makes about $31,557 and has $62,520 in debt. One reason why lenders may feel safe lending to Virginians, allowing them to have a high debt-to-income ratio, is their low delinquency rates. Only 1.27 percent of mortgage debt in Virginia is delinquent by at least 90 days. That is the 13th-lowest rate in the country. Virginia also has a relatively high proportion of its debt in student loans (7.76 percent)."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Richmond Virginia and Manchester bridge
    Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson | Getty Images
  • 2. Hawaii

    "Hawaii comes in second, with a debt-to-income ratio of 2.1. On average, Hawaiians make slightly more than [people in the top state on this list]. The median income in Hawaii is $31,905, as compared to $28,068 in [that state]. Residents of Hawaii also have slightly more debt per capita ... : $67,010, [compared] to $65,740. Hawaiians have the second-highest proportion of debt tied up in mortgage. In total, $51,770 out of the total $67,010 in per capita debt that Hawaiians hold is owed on mortgages. That means 77 percent of per- capita debt is mortgage debt."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    Beach house on Maui, Hawaii.
    Jay Spooner | Getty Images
  • 1. California

    "California has the highest debt-to-income ratio in the country. Residents of the Golden State make about $28,000 annually on average, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The New York Federal Reserve Bank shows that Californians have a per-resident debt balance of $65,740. This gives Californians a debt-to-income ratio of 2.34 on average. Like many other states, most of Californians' debt is held up in their mortgages. Californians owe about $51,190 on their mortgages on a per-capita basis."

    Source: Derek Miller, SmartAsset.com

    San Francisco, California  Skyline
    Stanley Chang | EyeEm | Getty Images