Four in ten carry personal debt

| Filed under: National

Four in ten carry personal debt

On average, $33K, mostly on line of credit

TORONTO July 14th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1251 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 forty 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.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.