AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Wednesday, May 18

Consumer Debt & Utah

For Sorens (who explained to me that Utahns feel compelled to drive nice, new cars and live in big houses because since Brigham Young they have equated wealth with righteousness), I call attention to a recent Wall Street Journal Article. My friend Stephanie pointed it out to me Tuesday because it so appalled her.

I was flabbergasted that a guy making $13/hr could rack up $30,000 in credit-card debt and that he even believed he could keep up with the Joneses when the Joneses are working professionals.

Perhaps most astounding is that the median monthly mortgage payment is 45.3% of the average worker's monthly income, the fourth-highest percentage in the U.S. And Utah is a pretty cheap place to live. It is almost beyond comprehension. I often wondered how so many people could afford new homes there when so many jobs were low-paying hourly gigs; well it turns out they can't.


  • My personal theory on Utah's high bankruptcy rate: church. Everyone wants to keep up with the people they associate with, and actively attending church expands this circle of acquaintances far beyond that of the average American. Add in the fact that a congregation could include people from various economic strata, and it's easy to see why some people want to overspend.

    Church provides a venue for people to see a lot more of others' posessions than they normally would, and associate with people they would otherwise not know.

    By Blogger Torry, at 5/19/2005 11:44 AM  

  • An interesting hypothesis and one I've never thought about. That's probably higher in wards outside of Utah where a congregation stretches out across a larger geographic (and thus often socio-economic) area.

    By Blogger AJE, at 5/19/2005 12:23 PM  

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