The average household consumer debt in the UK has reached £7,854—plus households owe another £4,912 in student loans and £51,241 for mortgages. By combining data from the Office of National Statistics and the Bank of England we were able to look beyond these figures, to identify trends in debt levels and understand how debt levels change across different demographics like age and gender.
|UK Household Debt: Key Findings 2019|
|Average household credit card balances||£2,620|
|Average student loans per household||£4,912|
|Average personal loans, etc. per household||£5,233|
|Average mortgage debt per Household||£51,241|
|Average mortgage debt per household of households with a mortgage||£126,008|
Average Household Debt by Category
As of March 2019, average total UK household debt was around £64,000—an increase of 17% over five years. Credit card debt is up 20% from 2014 levels, having reached an all-time high of £2,662 per household in December 2019. To calculate these measures, we analyzed debt data from the Bank of England and population data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the most reliable measure of consumer indebtedness in the country.
|Mortgage (all households)||Mortgage (households with a mortgage)||Personal loans, car loans, etc.||Student loans||Credit card balances|
Most of a UK household's debt is home loans, if they have a mortgage. While the average UK mortgage debt per household is calculated to be around £51,000 (dividing all UK mortgage debt by the total number of UK households), households with a mortgage owe £126,00 on average (because not everyone has a mortgage).
Of non-mortgage lending, 21% of lending is in the form of credit card balances, 38% is student loans and 41% are other personal loans. Below, you can see how debt levels continue to rise for UK households—we've analysed debt levels including mortgages, and also debt levels without mortgages.
While the average home loan per UK household is about £51,655, this number is a bit misleading since it muddles up those with a mortgage and those without. We think it's more useful to consider the average home loan per household, of the households that have a mortgage. According to the ONS 36.2% of households carry a mortgage. When analyzed in this way, the average home loan per (mortgaged) UK household is £142,183. Households with a mortgage carry 13% more home debt now than ten years ago.
|Outstanding Mortgage for UK Households with a Home Loan|
Average Personal Loans
The average personal loans per household in the UK was roughly £5,233 as of March 2019 excluding student loans (or £10,145 including student loans). This figure includes loans like personal installment loans, home renovation loans, and auto loans. Somewhat like credit cards, personal loans have been a popular way of financing one’s needs in recent years. As you can see in the chart below, there's been a rapid rise in education loans over the past ten years—nearly a 4-fold increase.
Average Credit Card Debt
Credit card lending continues to rise, and now credit card debt of UK households is approximately £2,626 according to the most recent data from the Bank of England and the Office for National Statistics. This information comes from data collected up through August 2019. The "mean amount of credit card debt" considers balances that individuals above the age of 18 have on average, throughout the year. Credit card balances left on credit builder cards can be especially problematic due to higher interest rates.
|Average Credit Card Debt per Household|
Average Debt across Demographics
Average debt can vary significantly across different demographics in the UK, for instance by income, age, and gender. We have analyzed some of the debt data from the most recent Wealth and Assets Survey and other datasets from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) so you can see trends and differences across these segments. For the purposes of this analysis, "average debt" refers to unsecured financial liabilities like credit card debt and personal loans, and does not include secured debt, e.g., mortgages. In the following sections we explore these differences to see how average debt varies among the population.
Average Debt by Income
The greater the household income, the higher the outstanding debt. Individuals in the highest annual income decile (above the 90th percentile), had a median of £7,200 in financial liabilities debt—over 5x as much as households making the least. Similarly, those with higher incomes are able to afford a larger mortgage.
|Income Decile||Income per Adult^||Median Financial Liabilities (excl. mortgage)||Median Mortgage Debt|
|Note: median values only include households that have a mortgage or other financial liabilities|
|^Median net equivalised income is the "median of total income of all households, after tax and other deductions, that is available for spending or saving, divided by the number of household members converted into equivalised adults"|
Average Debt by Age
Median debt levels (excluding mortgages) peak for households where the reference person is between 18 and 34 years old—this age group has an average non-mortgage household debt level of £10,400 and a median debt level of £4,800 (in other words, half of the indebted households in the 18 to 34 age bracket have at least £4,800 of debt).
Households over 65 years old held the least debt, as you can see below. Notice how much more debt the 25 to 34 age bracket owes than average (12% more) and how little debt the over 65 age bracket owes relative to the average (40% less).
|Financial Debt by Age||Median||Mean||Percent Over/Under the Average|
|18 to 34||£4,800||£10,400||12%|
|35 to 44||£4,800||£9,300||0%|
|45 to 54||£4,100||£9,900||6%|
|55 to 64||£4,100||£9,800||5%|
|65 to 74||£2,000||£5,600||-40%|
|75 and older||£1,300||£4,400||-53%|
Average Debt by Gender
Men carry significantly more personal debt then their female counterparts. The mean personal financial debt (excluding mortgages) held by men is £2,800, whereas women tend to hold 36% less with an average of only £1,800. Men and women are equally likely to have any financial liabilities at all—35% for both genders. Debt to income ratios hold quite steady between men and women also at 0.16 and 0.15, respectively.
|Personal (non-mortgage) Debt levels by Gender|
To the extent that your spending outpaces your income, it can help to find ways to save money on common budget busters. For example, see our tips to reduce spending on Christmas, save money on takeaways, etc.
If you find yourself struggling to pay back your outstanding debt, you may want to get free debt advice from organizations including the National Debtline, Citizens Advice Bureau and StepChange Debt Charity.