Thursday, January 27, 2011

Americans ridding themselves of debt

After a splurge of consumption and debt that accompanied the housing bubble over the past decade, Americans are finally weening themselves off household debt.

This graph shows household debt service payments as a percentage of disposable income:

This graph shows household financial obligations as a percentage of disposable income:

And here is a likely cause of the decline of household debt. The personal savings rate has doubled since the financial crisis began, although it's still half of what it was in 1980.

Luckily, the decline in household debt isn't simply being offset by a rise in the national debt. Oh. Wait. Here's the U.S. budget deficit as a percentage of GDP:


  1. James, surely you aren't suggesting that the federal government is out of step with the citizenry?!

    Such a thing is unheard of in the context of human history.

    But if it were a common occurrence, we could expect a swift and non-disruptive resolution of the problem.

    Sleep tight, Washington!

  2. Paying for wars with cuts has worked out.

  3. So where is all the spending coming from?

  4. "Paying for wars with cuts has worked out."

    Luckily we voted in some hope and change! Oh wait, the wars and cuts have continued!!!

  5. Great entry. I work for the chair of the committee on housing and workforce development at the Council of the District of Columbia. Do you have an email where we can reach you? Thanks!

  6. America will not surpass economic problems if they cannot resolve some problems in their states.

  7. It won't last. As soon as things start getting better, people will forget about the layoff when they needed a savings account.

  8. Yeah . . . . New Homes in San Diego probably has a point, i'm afraid.

    Good choice on the order of these charts..... just as we start to think Americans might be buckling down and getting smart.... boom. massive deficit.