Four in ten carry personal debt; on average, $33K, mostly on line of credit


IN a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll among 1,251 Canadian adults, just more than 4-in-10 carry personal debt (besides a mortgage – 42%). Close to half have no debt (48%). A further 1-in-10 prefer not to answer (10%), which indicates the indebted total is closer to half the population.

Claiming personal debt is common to young mid-age groups (35 to 44 – 55%) but not seniors (18%), mid-income groups ($60K to $80K – 52%), in the prairies (51%) but less so in BC (38%), among those with children (58%) and among mothers of children under 18 especially (62%).


Line of credit largest source of debt


Among those with personal debt, a line of credit is most often cited as the largest source (26%), followed by credit card debt (22%), a car loan (19%) and a student loan (17%). Relatively few claim to have a personal loan (6%).

Among the youngest, student debt is by far the largest source of indebtedness (41%), while line of credit debt peaks among the oldest (39%). Conservatives are more likely than others to have line of credit debt (34%) while Liberals are slightly more likely than others to have credit card debt (26%).


Most debt between $5K and $25K


On average, those Canadians with personal debt owe about $33,000, although this is lower among the youngest ($26K on average) and higher among the next age group up (35 to 44 – $43K on average). The plurality places their personal debt (apart from a mortgage) at between $5K and $25K (42%). Average debt load is highest in Alberta ($45K, on average) and among the wealthiest ($100K to $250K – $50K on average).

“While personal indebtedness in Canada appears to be high, with 40 percent or more claiming debt which doesn’t include a mortgage, the amounts involved, around $30,000 on average, do not appear to be crushingly onerous,” said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.