As much as 17.7 per cent of households in the North East are over-indebted, it is reported.
It comes as the Money Advice Service (MAS) estimates that 8.2 million UK adults, or 16.1 per cent of the population, suffer with financial worries.
Younger adults, larger families and single parents are particularly at risk.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, head of debt advice at the MAS, said: “We know that debt advice works but currently, only one in five people with financial difficulties seek advice.
“Today we are calling on everyone with problem debt or money worries, no matter how large or small, to access free advice as soon as possible.”
According to the findings, having children raises the likelihood of debt problems by more than 50 per cent, with 20 per cent for a family with one child and 13 per cent for those with no children.
The analysis indicated a link between debt levels and having three or more children. While 19 per cent of adults with one or two children were defined as over-indebted, this increased to 26 per cent among those with three or more children.
The report also shows that if you rent your property rather than own it, you are twice as likely to be over-indebted.
The survey found that renters are twice as likely to be over-indebted as those who own their home, at 25 per cent versus 12 per cent.
Social housing renting and private renting also made a difference.
For those renting a home in social housing this likelihood increases to nearly one in three, at 29 per cent versus 21 per cent of those privately renting.
The MAS worked with information firm CACI to estimate the varying levels of over-indebtedness across the UK.
People were defined as over-indebted if they had either fallen behind with their bills in at least three of the last six months or feel that their debts are a heavy burden.
Some 16,000 adults were compared to identify the characteristics of those who were over-indebted and those who were not.
One in four – or 28 per cent single parents are living with problem debt – equating to one million single parents across the UK, the research found.
With age, young adults are the age group most likely to be living with a debt problem.
Among 25 to 34-year-olds, one in four live with debt problems.