What's Wrong With Florida and California?

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Here are the cities with the worst credit card debt in the country. Conclusion: Orlando is inundated like a family at the bottom of Splash Mountain. What stands out to me is that eight of the top ten cities are in Florida and California, which, as the map after the jump demonstrates, is also pretty much exactly where we've seen the glut of home foreclosures. I've been thinking recently about America's foreclosure/consumption crisis. But is real F/C problem really a Florida/California problem?


It's a bit unfair to pin a national recession on two states, but consider the map, which shows foreclosure density by county.

foreclosures.png

Florida and Southern California clearly helped get the foreclosure ball rolling. As BusinessWeek presciently noted two years ago, Florida's glut of residential housing made it one of the first states (along with, of course, California) to slip into the recession that now grips the country. For a long time, Floridians used their houses as ATMs. It's likely that when their house value imploded, they suddenly found themselves underwater with both the mortgage and credit card companies. Indeed, Forbes found that the average Orlando earner owed 23% of their income to the credit card companies, which is incredibly like saying the credit card companies are owed the equivalent of a Floridian's summer income. Gulp.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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