Americans continue to rely on their credit cards to meet certain household and other expenses.

While credit cards are very useful tools for people who need just a little time to come up with some extra money, the downside is that many people in Kentucky and other parts of the country winding up carrying thousands of dollars in debt at high interest rates.

Kentucky runs in the middle of the pack among the states in terms of average credit card debt.  On that point, the average household in the United States carries over a $9,000 on their credit cards.

People in their forties and fifties, the age people typically are raising families, have the highest levels of credit card debt.

Higher income also seems to lead to additional credit debt. For instance, families earning about $70,000 a year carried on average around $5,000 in credit card debt. On the other hand, families earning over $115,000 could easily have over $8,000 on their credit cards.

On the whole, the statistics suggest that people are carrying larger credit balances now than they did 20 years ago even though fewer people are taking on credit card debt at all.

What this means is that a family that runs in to a financial crisis, like a job loss or a medical emergency, may have a credit card balance that is just too much for them to deal with, especially if they have other debts as well.

Those who are struggling under the weight of hefty interest rates, late fees and other penalties have legal options available to them. One option for stopping overwhelming debt is to consider filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.