You're in Debt, L.A.

Despite greater L.A.'s vast wealth, including the nation's largest ports, a mogul-making Hollywood entertainment industry and some of the most expensive real estate anywhere, Angelenos, on average, are relatively poor.

Our median individual (per capita) income is just $27,749, which, according to one study, is about half what it would take to be able to afford an average two-bedroom apartment in this city. A report in 2013 found that about one in four Southern California children is living in poverty.

You get the picture.

It's no surprise, then, that a hot-off-the-presses NerdWallet survey determined that more than half of Angelenos are saddled with credit card debt.

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The personal finance website conducted a "street survey" in Pershing Square on Tuesday. It also conducted similar surveys in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. In all, 1,200 Americans were queried about credit card debt and other issues.

Results of the NerdWallet survey were unveiled this morning.

It found that 57 percent of L.A. respondents carried credit card debt. The average figure for that debt, however, wasn't that bad: $5,526.16.

Los Angeles' immigrant-heavy retail scene can be a cash-only world.

New York respondents indicated an average $8,266 in plastic red ink. Chicago respondents were at $5,749, NerdWallet said. San Francisco respondents posted the lowest figure: $4,976.

It's possible that people are self-reporting low figures here, though. NerdWallet says the average figure for household credit card debt from coast to coast is $15,611. (Keep in mind that the L.A. results are for individuals, not households.)

And the survey's sample sizes for individual cities couldn't have been large enough to meet the standards of a typical political poll.

Most surveys need at least 1,000 random respondents to come up with accurate results. NerdWallet queried 1,200 people, total, in four cities, at specific locales. If the number of L.A. respondents is one-fourth of that, or 300, that's not a healthy sample pool.

In any case, NerdWallet's director of credit cards, Kevin Yuann, has good advice for Angelenos whose credit cards have become a ball and chain: " ... Consumers should consider lower-cost options that can help them manage and get out of debt."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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