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Special Note: Dan Murray of InterWorks created this visualization of household debt in the US. We thought it was interesting and wanted to share it.
News coverage has focused on the derivative markets, sub-prime mortgage debt and increasing regulation that the Federal Government plans to impose on derivative securities and financial institutions. But, the recent financial troubles were really caused by excessive household borrowing. I decided to pull some data from the Federal Reserve to see how families are managing their household debt.
This dashboard examines the % of debt to disposable income that households have carried from the first quarter of 1980 through the fourth quarter of 2009. It's encouraging to note that the debt load has been coming down in recent quarters. The highlight table on the left and the annual debt time-series chart clearly show that over the past 30 years households have steadily increased debt.
Of course, the Debt percentage is a function of both debt and income. This analysis doesn't breakdown those two elements separately. It would also be interesting to include different income levels to see if there are significant differences in the trend by income level.
Are you carrying more debt now that you were two years ago? Has your income gone up or down in real terms during the past two years?
Data from the Federal Reserve.