Rising burden of household debt

Nearly half of all households in Great Britain say the level of their financial debts constitutes a 'burden', according to a report from the Office for National Statistics. The report tracks changes in the position between 2006–2008 and 2008–2010.


Key points

  • Over the period examined the percentage of individuals considering their financial debt a burden increased by 1.9 percentage points to 49.4 per cent.
  • In 2008–2010 the combined financial debt of households in Great Britain was £94.7 billion, with just over half (51.0 per cent) of households having financial liabilities.
  • For households with financial debt, over half owed at least £3,200. Households in the south east had the highest median financial debt (£4,200), while households in Wales had the lowest (£2,000).
  • Individuals living in the least wealthy households were 13 times more likely to report that their financial debt was a heavy burden than those living in the wealthiest households.
  • The least wealthy 10 per cent of households had over £4 worth of financial liabilities for every £1 held in financial assets.

SourceWealth in Great Britain Wave 2: The Burden of Household Debt in Great Britain, Office for National Statistics
LinksONS press release | StepChange press release | Guardian report