Many American families accumulated loads of debt and lost their savings due to an inability to weather the economic recession, according to USA Today.

A University of Michigan report shows one in five families in the U.S. have more debt in credit cards, medical bills and student loans than they have in their savings. Just over 23 percent of families said they had no savings at all when surveyed at the end of 2011, compared to 18.5 percent in 2009.

"The people who were down and out, without much money, in the recession have ended up staying there or even worse," Frank Stafford, professor of economics at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and co-author of the report, told USA Today.

The troubles for families extend beyond credit cards and savings accounts.

Among respondents, 1.7 percent said they expect to fall behind on their mortgage payments, which is just under the 1.9 percent repored in 2009, according to USA Today.


TWITTER: @joeyferguson