Not only are Americans racking up credit card debt at an alarming rate, but we’re also in denial about how much we owe. When people are asked about the total balance on their credit cards, their estimates are 37% percent lower than the amounts reported by lenders, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Whether they know exactly how much they owe (and how much they’ll end up paying over time on their debt), some Americans fear they’ll be shackled to debt for the rest of their lives. Twelve percent of people surveyed by CreditCards.com in 2016 said they feared they would die in debt.
Based on data from WalletHub, they have reason to be concerned. The website recently put together a list of the average credit card balances in nearly 2,500 U.S. cities, based on data from credit reporting agency TransUnion. Using median income data for each city, they also determined how long it would take the average resident to pay off their debt and how much they would pay in interest (assuming an average interest rate of 14%).
In many cities, payoff times could take a decade or more. CardHub determined it would take 16 years for people in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to pay off their average debt of $6,926. Over that period, they’d fork over nearly double their initial balance – $10,535 – in interest. People in Marquette, Michigan; Laramie, Wyoming; and Stillwater, Oklahoma, were also looking at payoff periods of more than 10 years.
Folks in those cities may be looking at some of the longest debt payoff times, but they aren’t the ones who’ve rung up the largest balances on their credit cards. That dubious honor goes to people living in Darien, Connecticut, one of the wealthiest communities in America. Other heavily indebted cities were similarly posh, including Southlake, Texas, where roughly 70% of people earn more than $100,000 a year, according to NerdWallet, and Lake Forest, Illinois, where more than half of residents take home at least $150,000.
Based on WalletHub’s data, here are the 10 cities in the United States with the most credit card debt.