Tampa Bay Leads in Debt Burden: Insights from USF Study


The Tampa Bay area has emerged with the highest household debt-to-income ratio among 20 metro areas surveyed in a recent study by the University of South Florida. Presented in the 2024 State of the Region report, this research sheds light on critical economic indicators affecting local communities.

GJ de Vreede, interim dean of the USF Muma College of Business, emphasized the importance of these reports in guiding regional development efforts, noting their evolution into trusted resources for leaders.

In a shift from 2019, Tampa Bay surpassed San Diego for the top spot in debt-to-income ratio. Conversely, Houston and Dallas boasted the lowest ratios, reflecting a different economic landscape.

Despite an increase in per capita income from 2016 to 2022, Tampa Bay lags behind other cities in this metric, surpassing only San Antonio and Orlando. However, the area has made strides in reducing the Black-white poverty rate gap, climbing from 10th place in 2018 to first in 2022.

While the region enjoys the most affordable graduate tuition among its peers, undergraduate tuition costs have risen. Bemetra Simmons, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Partnership, highlighted the significance of these findings in shaping regional priorities and investments.

The study, encompassing Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota counties, offers valuable insights into the economic dynamics of the Tampa Bay area. It compares the region with other major cities like Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, and more, providing a comprehensive view of its competitive landscape.

With the release of the 2024 Tampa Bay E-Insights Report and the 2024 Regional Competitiveness Summary Report, stakeholders gain access to detailed analyses crucial for informed decision-making.