This Map Reveals the States With the Most (and Least) Debt


Many people have debt. This debt ranges from credit cards and mortgages to student loans. The amount of debt one person has might be drastically different from their friend or neighbor.

Just like people have debt, governments have debt too, and the amount of debt one government has can be drastically different than another government. We’re not even talking about different countries. We’re talking about different states.

Zippia decided to find out which state has the most debt per capita. In order to do this, they looked at the ACS censes data from 2017 to see the total population in each state. They also looked at the WorldAtlas’s data from 2017 to see how much debt each state has. Divide by the population of the state, and it’s easy to put the states in order from most debt per capita to least debt per capita.

While California has more debt than any other state government, it did not top the list of most debt per capita. It actually came in number 18 with $3,867 per person.

The state with the most debt per capita is quite a bit smaller than California and therefore has a much smaller population. We’re talking about Massachusetts where the debt per person was $11,171.

Look at the map below to see where your state landed on this ranking of states from most debt per capita to least debt per capita.

It’s important to keep in mind that this map uses data from 2017. This was long before the pandemic, and the information very well may have changed in the past few years.

It is also important to keep in mind that this data does not take into consideration the cost of living difference between states. If you have ever checked housing prices in say California versus Indiana, you know that certain states are more expensive than others.

Wondering why the debt per capita is so vastly different between states? The states with the most debt per capita tend to have more social support programs, while states with the least debt per capita, especially the southern states, tend to have fewer social support programs.

Where did your state fall on this list? Were you surprised? Do you think the data has changed since 2017? Do you think Massachusetts still has the most debt per capita? Do you think it’s better for a state to have more debt and more social support programs or less debt and fewer social support programs?