Consumer debt in the Sacramento area totaled $99.8 billion in this year's third quarter, a 6 percent drop from the same period in 2011, according to Equifax, the Atlanta-based credit-rating firm.
Nationwide, consumer debt levels fell $256 billion, or 2.3 percent, in the third quarter compared with the year-ago period.
Equifax measurements factor in a broad range of debts, including mortgage, auto, credit card and home equity loans.
Officials said consumers are generally more cautious about spending in parts of the country where real estate markets were hardest hit.
"We continue to see debt declining significantly in certain markets including those in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona where the housing bust was particularly severe," said Trey Loughran with Equifax. "The high number of foreclosures means many consumers have reduced their debt involuntarily.
"Also, consumers who are current on their debt are being more disciplined in taking on new obligations and in how they manage the credit they already have."