Household debt rose to new levels in 20 years — jumping $394 billion in the fourth quarter of the year alone — driven by credit card balances and auto loans.

A February 16 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data(opens in new tab), highlighted that U.S. household debt hit a record $16.90 trillion at the end of 2022,  jumping $394 billion in the fourth quarter of the year alone. This increase, which occurred from October to December, is the fastest quarterly household debt increase in the last 20 years, partly due to high inflationcost of living increases, and the subsequent interest rate hikes from the Fed that continued through 2022 and into 2023.

The report shows that mortgages, credit card balances and auto loans were the big drivers of this increase, with credit card balances 6% higher than the previous (pre-pandemic) high of $927 billion.

Overall, household debt has increased by $2.75 trillion from the end of 2019 just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Household debt includes all liabilities of households, including mortgages, credit cards and student loans.