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Ranking the states: Credit card debt

Residents of Alaska shoulder one of the lower tax burdens in the country, but that doesn’t mean they’re shepherding their wealth. Credit card holders in the Last Frontier carry more debt than any other state, according to data compiled by TransUnion, the credit rating agency.

Alaska residents owed an average of $6,910 in credit card debt, nearly $2,000 higher than the average American’s red ink. Cardholders in Colorado, Connecticut, North Carolina, the District of Columbia and New Jersey all carry at least $500 more in debt than the national average of $4,965.

Add in South Carolina, Maryland, Georgia and Virginia and states south of the Mason-Dixon line account for six of the top 10 slots.

Meanwhile, residents of the Great Plains tend to carry lower amounts of credit card debt, the data show. Six of the 10 states with the lowest average amounts of credit card debt are in the Midwest, including the bottom four states — Iowa, the only state where the average debtor owes less than $4,000, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

TransUnion reported last week that credit card delinquencies edged down slightly in the second quarter of the year, to the second-lowest levels since 1994. Data the company released Tuesday shows the price of the average auto loan rose 4 percent over the last year, a sign, the company said, that borrowers are taking out new loans. And the number of mortgage delinquencies is coming down rapidly, though six states — Nevada, New York, Florida, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey — still have delinquency rates over 5 percent.

North Dakota maintains the lowest home mortgage delinquency rate in the nation; just 1.15 percent of borrowers are more than 60 days behind on their payments, according to TransUnion.

Credit Card Debt By State

1. Alaska                  $6,910
2. Colorado                $5,625
3. Connecticut             $5,617
4. North Carolina          $5,548
5. District of Columbia    $5,499
6. New Jersey              $5,484
7. South Carolina          $5,389
8. Maryland                $5,345
9. Georgia                 $5,343
10. Virginia               $5,329

11. New Hampshire          $5,327
12. Washington             $5,269
13. Delaware               $5,234
14. Texas                  $5,173
15. Illinois               $5,166
16. Massachusetts          $5,142
17. Hawaii                 $5,141
18. Rhode Island           $5,102
19. Arizona                $5,011
-- U.S. Average            $4,965
20. New York               $4,952

21. California             $4,937
22. New Mexico             $4,920
23. Florida                $4,861
24. Oklahoma               $4,854
25. Nevada                 $4,851
26. Kansas                 $4,830
27. Ohio                   $4,817
28. Alabama                $4,817
29. Maine                  $4,797
30. Missouri               $4,796

31. Wyoming                $4,789
32. Louisiana              $4,773
33. Oregon                 $4,773
34. Vermont                $4,693
35. Tennessee              $4,669
36. Pennsylvania           $4,629
37. Mississippi            $4,594
38. Indiana                $4,577
39. Montana                $4,565
40. Utah                   $4,559

41. Michigan               $4,558
42. Idaho                  $4,549
43. Minnesota              $4,541
44. Arkansas               $4,535
45. Kentucky               $4,436
46. Wisconsin              $4,327
47. West Virginia          $4,315
48. Nebraska               $4,298
49. South Dakota           $4,236
50. North Dakota           $4,011

51. Iowa                   $3,885
Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.

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