A study released Tuesday found that 35.1% of people with credit records - roughly 77 million - had a debt in collections based on September 2013 records from TransUnion. The debt averaged $5,178.

The study, released by the Urban Institute and Encore Capital Group's Consumer Credit Research Institute, indicates the share of Americans in collections has remained steady even as the U.S. pares down the size of its credit card debt since the official end of the economic slump in the middle of 2009.

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