This city's residents have the least debt

detroit debt
Detroit residents carry an average debt load of $23,604.

Detroit may be bankrupt, but its residents actually have the lowest levels of debt in the country.

The average debt load for a person living in Detroit is $23,604. That's the lowest of any major city and is down 7.1% from four years ago, according to Experian, which looked at credit card, auto, personal and student loan debt in the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Other cities where residents carried the lowest overall amounts of debt included Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Boston (see table for full list below).

Related: Big data knows you're broke

Dallas residents carried the biggest debt load, with an average of $28,240. That's up 7.8% from four years ago.

Houston, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Baltimore rounded out the five cities with the highest debt burdens.

Detroit was the only city out of the 20 that saw its average debt load decrease over the past four years. Nationwide, debt has climbed 5% to an average $25,927 since 2010.

Related: 3 simple ways to get out of debt

But growing debt isn't always a bad sign, says Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics at Experian.

"[It] could actually be signaling a recovery pattern as credit lending is opening up and consumers are becoming more confident," she said.

Don't rush to pay off your mortgage

That could also be why Detroit was the only city to see debt levels decrease. Residents may not be able to access as much credit or are refraining from taking on debt as they try to get through their own financial troubles amid the city's economic crisis, said Raneri.

Detroit residents have decent credit scores on average, however. While the average VantageScore (which ranges from 300 to 850) is 665, Detroit averaged a 667 -- meaning residents are managing the credit they do have fairly well.

Where the debt is
City Average debt
Detroit $23,604
Los Angeles $24,361
Miami $24,884
New York $25,396
Boston $25,413
Tampa $25,537
Minneapolis $25,626
San Francisco $25,828
Philadelphia $26,128
San Diego $26,423
Chicago $26,429
St. Louis $26,721
Atlanta $26,940
Denver $27,090
Phoenix $27,267
Baltimore $27,271
Seattle $27,279
Washington, D.C. $27,668
Houston $28,105
Dallas $28,240

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