I believe this is true because a lot of people deal with debt especially students. I am a student and I have to take out loans for my classes for my bachelor degree. I am obtaining a bachore degree in health informatics and I have a good 30000 in debt already and I still have 2 years to go.
I spent the majority of my time in college paying off debt that I had incurred by being a typical irresponsible young adult. I had increased my credit to a level that was considered 'Good.' When the time came that I was no longer able to be covered under my parent's insurance, I went with the student insurance provided by my university. The coverage was minimum, at best, and I quickly went thousands of dollars in debt after a few hospital visits and a minor surgery.
I have a large amount of debt that I pay on regularly, but nothing that comes from a collections agency. At least, not at this time. I have before and I slowly paid off those debts until they were eradicated. Also, if I paid late, it hasn't been more than thirty days.
I believe that the statistic of one in three adults in the United States having debt in collections is accurate. We live in a society where having massive debt is considered the 'norm'. We are governed by a body of people who have amassed more debt than those of us living paycheck-to-paycheck can imagine. I have a considerable amount of debt, student loans being the worst, most relentless balance. I have been lucky in that, even with the economic downturn of the past few years I've been able to stay current on my payments, however exorbitant they may be.