U.S. households increased their total debt by $271 billion during Q4 2023 – roughly 19% more than the average for Q4 over the past 20 years. As a result, U.S. households collectively owed $17.5 trillion to start 2024, according to Federal Reserve Bank of New York data analyzed by WalletHub.

Why it matters: For context, U.S. GDP is about $27 trillion per year, and the government spent a total of $6.13 trillion in fiscal year 2023.

Yes, but: When you adjust household debt for inflation, things don’t look as bad, says WalletHub.

  • The inflation-adjusted total is 5% below the record set in 2008. The situation is far from ideal but it’s not unprecedentedly bad.

Go deeper: Total mortgage debt increased to $12.25 trillion in Q4 2023 – $1.25 trillion below the all-time high.

  • The average household had $102,258 in mortgage debt at the end of Q4 2023 – $13,401 below the record.