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The current debt situation in Wales

Our 'Wales in the Red' report identifies some of the key characteristics and debt situations of our clients in Wales.

Download the report

Wales in the Red 2019 report

Based on general public polling, we estimate that around 8% of adults living in Wales are facing severe debt problems, compared to around 6% of the UK adult population.

This equates to 193,000 people in Wales in severe problem debt. We estimate a further 412,000 (16% of the Welsh population) are showing signs of financial distress.


Number one

In Wales, single parents are significantly over-represented among StepChange clients

When looking solely at clients who have dependent children, over half are single parents (54%) whilst 46% are in couples.

In the wider Welsh population just 27% of adults with dependent children are single parents,compared to 63% who are in couples.

Wales in the Red 2019 report single parents stats

Number 2

Income shocks are the most common cause of problem debt in Wales

More than one in four Welsh adults (28%) said they, or someone in their household, had experienced a life event that made them worse off financially in the last two years. This is slightly higher that the percentage for GB adults (24%).

Wales in the Red 2019 report reasons for debt

Number 3

Over half of new StepChange clients in Wales are behind on at least one household bill

On average, StepChange clients in Wales have 1.5 different types of arrears. The proportion of Welsh clients in arrears for each household bill are council tax 36%, water 30%, mortgage 28%, rent 27%, electricity 22%, gas 16% and TV license 8%.

Wales in the Red 2019 report council tax arrears is the most common debt in Wales

Number 4

The financial pressures facing younger adults are leaving many needing debt advice

The charity is particularly over-represented with clients aged between 25 and 39 compared to the wider Welsh population. Less than a quarter of all Welsh adults are aged between 25 and 39, yet 41% of Welsh clients fall into this age group.

Wales in the Red 2019 report age of clients

Want more information?

Email us to discuss our 2019 personal debt statistics and other debt research across the UK.