Some recently conducted surveys are showing that Americans' personal financial situation may be improving, although there's still a ways to go in terms of most consumers being on solid financial footing.

This month, credit monitoring company Equifax released the results of its National Credit Trends Report, which looks trends in consumer credit card and other types of loan data. The study analyzed quarterly data on an anonymous subset of consumers from Equifax's credit database who had more than one installment loan or revolving account and reported on the percentage of income credit card represented on a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) basis.

Equifax found that over half of the top 100 MSAs in the country that suffered from the most credit card debt had massive declines in the percentage of income owed to credit card companies. Almost 60 MSAs had anywhere from a 10 percent to a nearly 24 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011.

Four states had the most cities with declines, and they're also some of the states that have had the most trouble during the recession. Florida, Louisiana, Washington and California all had representation in this study, with Florida having five cities on the list, which was the most for any state.

"It is interesting that MSAs from some of the states hardest hit by the recession showed some of the biggest reductions in credit card debt," says Trey Loughran, president of Equifax's Personal Solutions business in a press release. "This suggests that consumers from these hardest hit areas have been especially cautious in their spending and diligent in paying down their credit card debt."

Two Floridian MSAs top Experian's list. The Port St. Lucie MSA saw a 23.59% reduction in the percent of income and Ocala had a 20.97% decline. Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington followed right behind with a 20.62% decline. Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana and Bakersfield-Delano, California rounded out the top five.

While this decline is positive, Equifax also notes that American consumers still have a lot of outstanding credit card debt, owing over $800 billion to card companies.

S&P Indices and Experian also had some positive news in the world of credit card debt, with national consumer credit defaults falling for the first time in four months. The overall composite index fell from 2.24 in December to 2.16. From the previous January, it fell .74.

The bank card default index had a smaller decline from December, falling only .03, but the yearly decline was much greater, with defaults tumbling 1.56.

"As we begin the new year consumer default rates may be resuming the two-year downward trend that was interrupted in the middle of last year," says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Indices in a press release. "Last month we reported that the second half of 2011 saw a modest increase in consumer defaults led by four consecutive monthly increases in first mortgage default. While one month of data is not a new trend, January's report shows broad based declines in default rates, which is a bit of a relief.

However, credit card debt is still getting in the way of Americans' financial security even with the increased influx of consumer-friendly balance transfer offers introduced earlier this year. A new poll has found that 25 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings, a two percent increase from a similar poll conducted last year.

"Emergency savings remains a problem area for many Americans, which leaves them only one unplanned expense away from having high-cost debt," says Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst at, in a press release. "Long-term unemployment, stagnant wage growth and rising household expenses are all contributing to this trend. As difficult as it may be to boost savings, having an adequate emergency savings cushion is critical to maintaining financial stability, and Americans need to find ways to sock away more cash for a rainy day."