Chicago: Debt Scorecard

A Credit Karma Study


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With a population of around 2.7 million people, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, according to 2020-2021 U.S. Census estimates. According to Credit Karma data from Aug. 17, 2022, the average overall debt of the 686,380 Credit Karma members who live in Chicago is $50,872. In this case, overall debt is made up of auto loans, auto leases, student loans, mortgages, credit card balances and medical debt (Click here for the full methodology.)

Read on to see a snapshot of debt in Chicago.

Overall debt in Chicago

The 686,380 Credit Karma members living in Chicago held a combined total debt of about $58.98 billion. The average overall debt for individuals was $50,872. The median overall debt was only $10,466, which suggests that a minority of the population carries significantly more debt than the majority, pulling the average upward. The average next payment on that debt is $466.

In contrast, the national average debt for Credit Karma members is $49,454, and the median is $11,223.

Chicago’s debt dial

chicagodebtgauge-2Image: chicagodebtgauge-2

Auto loans, student loans, mortgage and credit card debt in Chicago

The table below contains averages and medians for different types of debt among Credit Karma members in Chicago.

Debt typeNumber of Credit Karma members with debt typeAverage debtMedian debtAverage next payment
Auto loan410,659$22,108$18,182$558
Student loan285,360$38,792$18,388$58
Credit card653,667$6,539$3,053$185

So how do residents of Chicago compare to the national member averages? The table below compares the national average against the averages in Chicago among Credit Karma members.

Debt typeNational average debt of Credit Karma membersChicago member average debt
Auto loan$24,042$22,108
Student loan$32,004$38,792
Credit card$6,469$6,539

Overall, Credit Karma members in Chicago had more debt than the national average in all categories of debt except in terms of auto loan debt. Most notably, average student loan debt in Chicago is more than $6,000 more than the national average, and mortgage debt is higher than the national average by more than $52,000.

How does Chicago rank against other cities?

We compared averages for Credit Karma members living in the top 100 cities by population according to 2021 U.S. Census population estimates.

Out of the top 100 cities, Chicago has the 47th highest overall average debt among Credit Karma members. The overall average debt of Credit Karma members in Chicago puts it below Charlotte, North Carolina, where members have an average of $51,483 in overall debt, and above Spokane, Washington, where members have an average of $50,695 in overall debt.

Here’s how Chicago members ranked against members in the other top 100 cities in America.

  • Auto loan debt: 65th highest
  • Credit card debt: 39th highest
  • Student loan debt: 10th highest
  • Mortgage debt: 31st highest

Credit, inquiries and past-due accounts in Chicago

Among Credit Karma members in Chicago, the average VantageScore 3.0 credit score was 666 and the median was 672, both of which are considered prime. The national average VantageScore 3.0 for Credit Karma members was 673, while the median was 682.

Chicago members had an average of 4.6 inquiries on their credit reports, while the national average was 4.2.

Residents of Chicago average 0.69 accounts that were 30 days past due. The national average was 0.74 accounts.


To determine averages across categories of debt — including auto lease, auto loan, credit card, mortgage, student loan, medical and total debt — we analyzed the accounts of about 686,000 Credit Karma members living in Chicago who had been active on the site within the last 36 months. Averages were based on information from members’ TransUnion credit reports from the 90 days previous to the data pull, which was on Aug. 17, 2022. For the purposes of this analysis, auto lease, auto loan, credit card, mortgage, medical and student loan debt is defined as any unpaid balances existing on members’ open accounts in aggregate at the time the data was pulled. All numbers in this report were rounded to the nearest whole.

Note that all data for this article were pulled on Aug. 17, 2022.