Posted by: Josh Lehner | June 21, 2012

Oregon Debt by County

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York that has been working on and publishing detailed data on household credit conditions in recent years. A few years ago they were the best source to get mortgage data (for free) by type of mortgage, credit scores, loan to value, delinquency status, etc. however it appears they have stopped publishing updates to that data, which is rather unfortunate. However, the NY Fed now has county level data on Auto, Credit Card and Mortgage debt, along with the percent of debt that is 90+ days delinquent. (This data is not brand new, however I had yet to explore it in-depth) The data covers all counties in the U.S. that have at least 10,000 consumers with credit reports as of the end of 2010. For Oregon this means we have data for 28 out of the 36 counties. The following maps and graphs highlight this county data for Oregon, however given the richness of the data you may have your own designs on how best to use it.

These first sets of maps simply illustrate county level debt conditions in 2011q4. The maps on the left are debt per capita, while the maps on the right are the percent seriously delinquent. Generally, when examining the delinquency rates across the counties, the intuition that regions faring better economically have lower delinquency rates holds up. Turning this data set into panel data and adding a few economic variables – such as employment or the unemployment rate – yields statistically significant results in terms of the macroeconomic effect on delinquency rates, as one would expect. It would be interesting (students: hint, hint for a research project) to assess these relationships across all counties in the U.S. and then to add in a plethora of other variables such as home prices when modeling mortgage debt. However, such analysis is beyond the scope of this post.

The mortgage debt per capita is heavily influenced by home prices, obviously, so seeing higher mortgage debt levels in the Portland MSA and in the other Oregon MSAs should be no surprise.

The following graphs show the changes in delinquency rates for the different types of debt in recent years.The red and dark blue bars are the delinquency rates for the past two years and illustrate the changes in the past year (generally improving across the board). The light blue bars are data prior to the recession and can be used as a reference to show the recession’s impact.

The NY Fed is a great resource for those looking for local level household credit/debt conditions and hopefully they continue to update and publish this type of information.

Note 1: The Oregon statewide figures are the author’s calculations based on the sum of the county data given that state data is not published for 2011q4 on the website

Note 2:  As mentioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, there are some data limitations given that these figures are calculated based on 5% random sample of the U.S. population of individuals who have credit reports with Equifax. To the extent that the sample is not representative, the figures above will misrepresent the true data.


  1. […] have the lowest rate.  If you would like to see how your county fares, check out the link to the Oregon Office of Economics blog. Special thanks to them for posting this […]

  2. […] there’s reason for optimism in a recent report from the state Office of Economic Analysis, which addresses one of the foundations that must be repaired to encourage long-term economic […]

  3. […] there’s reason for optimism in a recent report from the state Office of Economic Analysis, which addresses one of the foundations that must be repaired to encourage long-term economic […]

  4. i read a lot of posts today and yours is the best one i have read ever. i appreciate your attitude.

  5. […] item discussed on the blog last summer were the declining delinquency rates for debt across Oregon. That was important because as […]

  6. […] process of household deleveraging has been underway both nationally and here in Oregon, even at the county level. Unfortunately the underlying debt data by state is not readily available like it is at the […]

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