While debt is a huge drain on most American families, it is stabilizing and in some cases falling for many households, except those headed by individuals over the age of 75, according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The number of families headed by seniors older than 75 that had debt increased, as did their level of indebtedness. In 2010, almost four in 10 such families (38.5%) had debt, up from 31.2% in 2007. Their average debt was $27,409, more than double the $13,665 they carried in debt in 2007. Even more concerning, the percentage with debt payments greater than 40% of their income—a measure of debt load trouble—increased to 4.9% in 2010, from 4.3% three years earlier.

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