Debt CollectorAfrican-Americans are more likely than whites to be called by debt collectors even though both groups report having equal levels of debt and repayment rates, a new survey from Demos and the NAACP Economic Department found.

The two organizations surveyed moderate-income American households with credit card debt and discovered that African Americans were no more likely than whites to be late on a payment, to declare bankruptcy, or to get evicted.

So why are blacks biting the bullet?

“African-American households are more likely to have been called by bill collectors because they are more likely to have blemishes on their credit history that would send debts to collection agencies,” Catherine Ruetschlin, an author of the Demos report, told The Huffington Post.

In addition, it appears that African Americans receive more calls due to the fact that they tend to have lower credit scores than white Americans, according to research. With the financial crisis widening that gap and subprime lenders targeting African Americans during the housing boom, blacks are more likely to have credit scores that could be damaged for several years.

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  • If this is the case then I think that it is important for Black Americans to educate themselves of their rights under the FDCPA. Debt collectors are more likely to harass those who are oblivious to their consumer rights.

  • ruggie

    I think a lot of it has to do with our self-perception that we are always late or indebted in some way as a people, making us more vulnerable to aggressive tactics. Even I was shocked when the article said “African Americans were no more likely than whites to be late on a payment, to declare bankruptcy, or to get evicted.”

  • That’s interesting, even though I find it very hard to believe. Debt does not discriminate. It affects more people than you may know. Chances are that a lot of your friends and neighbors have filed bankruptcy at some point or another but shame prevents them from telling you about it. I filed 15 years ago and my family never knew.