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There is a strong link between debt and health, with people in problem debt more likely to have worse health.

Key stats

as many people who are not in problem debt say that they have very good health compared to people who are in problem debt.
of working-age people with poor health have no savings whatsoever, compared to one in three with good health.
of people in problem debt have either medium or high anxiety.

There is a strong link between debt and health, with people in problem debt more likely to have worse health. This link remains after age and income are taken into account, meaning it’s not just because people with problem debt have lower incomes, or are a particular age.

The relationship between debt and health is two-way. Being unable to make debt repayments – problem debt – can harm people’s physical and mental health by acting as a source of stress and reducing opportunities for them to improve their health. Poor health can be a trigger for problem debt, through losing work or low income.

These charts explore that relationship, as well as the impact of government action to ease financial pressures during the pandemic.

Relationship between debt and health

Trends and inequalities in debt

Further reading

Explore other subtopics within Money and resources
Poverty is a risk to health, with persistent poverty more strongly associated with worse health than shorter exposures.
There is a well-established link between income and variations in health, with people on lower incomes more likely to have poor health.

Explore the topics

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Health inequalities

Money and resources
Poverty | Income | Debt

Quality | Unemployment | Security

Affordability | Quality | Stability | Security

Active travel | Social exclusion | Trends

Family, friends and community
Personal relationships | Community cohesion

Our surroundings
Pollution | Green space | Safety | Amenities

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This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health
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