Debt statistics 2015: what we know about personal debt in the UK

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Today we released our Statistics Yearbook 2015, which is full of information about personal debt in the UK.

How much do people owe on average? What types of debt do they have? Are there some people who are more at risk of debt than others?

The Statistics Yearbook takes a closer look at how debt affects people across the UK, and gives us a better understanding of the causes and consequences of it.

A lot of our clients tell us they feel ashamed or embarrassed about being in debt, or that it makes them feel like a bad person. With so much stigma still around it, it can help to know you’re not alone in being in debt.

And with over half a million people getting in touch with us for help in 2015 alone, you’d definitely not be alone in getting help to deal with unmanageable debt!

So what are the main things we learnt from the people who got in touch with us in 2015?

Demand for debt advice was high

graphic saying: demand for debt advice has risen by 45% in last 3 years

  • There were over 3 million visits to our website in 2015
  • Over 234,000 people got debt advice through our online Debt Remedy tool


People living in London are the most likely to need debt advice

graphic showing regional demand for debt advice

  • Nearly 3 in every 5 clients are women
  • Our clients have an average income of £16,491 per year


More and more part-time workers are in problem debt

57% of people seeking debt advice in 2015 were unemployed

  • Part time workers now make up 19% of clients, up from 16% in 2011


More people were behind on their essential bills

  • 40% of our clients are behind on their essential bills, such as rent, council tax and utilities
  • On average, our clients owe £2,003 on essential bills



People who rent are more likely to be hardest hit…

75% of stepchange clients are renters

  • 75% of clients live in rented accommodation, including 35% of our clients who live in private rented accommodation.


…as are single parent families

19.6% of our clients are single parents

    • 1 in 5 of our clients are single parents, compared to just 7% of UK households
    • Nearly 1 in every 3 of our clients who are single parents are in arrears on their rent
    • On average, single parents owe over £10,000 and after all their bills are paid they have just £27 remaining


Why are these stats important?

As well as helping people to deal with their debt, a big part of what we do involves campaigning, as well as working with the Government, the financial services industry and our partners to create change. We want to make it less likely that people will find themselves in debt, and make sure that there are better protections in place for those who do.

These stats give us a better idea of what needs to be done to improve the experiences of those who are facing debt problems.

Where can I find more information?

If you want the full picture, you can take a look at our Stats Yearbook for more information about personal debt in the UK.


We're the UK's leading debt advice charity, and we've been helping people break free from problem debt for 20 years.

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  • Beltane

    David Cameron is on a mission, a genocidal mission to kill all the poor and disabled while he gives our money to his rich friends, and takes away all our rights as he constructs his Totalitarian State,simple, we are doomed.

  • Diane Gibson

    Informative facts and statistics. Thank you for carrying out this research and releasing this. I will be sure to discuss these points with canvassers for the Northern Ireland Assembly Election.