Tennessians living in Appalachia are more likely to have medical debt in collection and to have high-interest subprime loans while earning significantly less than the state and national average, a report by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found.
More … than half of Tennessee’s 95 counties are found in Appalachia, a region that encompasses 13 states and 26 million people.
The report, Consumer Finances in Rural Appalachia, found that residents of these Tennessee counties have a median annual income of $41,120, compared to $50,490 in Tennessee and $61,833 nationally.
The report also found that 28% of Tennessees living in Appalachia have medical debt in collection, compared to 24% Tennessee-wide and 17% nationwide.
Tennessee Appalachian residents are also more likely to be steered toward subprime or deep subprime loans with high interest rates: 6% have deep subprime debt and 27% have subprime debt—higher rates than national and national averages.
Rural Appalachia with medical debt have more than double delinquency rates for other credit products, including mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans, compared to those without medical debt – data points that the report did not break down by state.
“All of these factors combined have led to disproportionately high levels of distress in the financial lives of consumers in rural Appalachia,” the report concludes.