Adults Under 30 Have Over $1 Trillion in Debt

Adults Under 30 Have Over $1 Trillion in Debt

February 28, 2019         Written By John H. Oldshue

According to household debt data from Equifax and the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, American adults under the age of 30 have $1.05 trillion in debt. This is the highest level of debt for this age group (18-29 year-olds) since 2007, right before America’s financial crisis.

By comparison, adults 30-39 years old have $2.9 trillion in debt, and 40-49 year-olds have the highest level of debt at $3.4 trillion. Those values decrease with older age groups, coming in at $1 trillion for adults over 70.

What is causing this high debt volume among young adults? Student loans make up the bulk of it, increasing by $15 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. In total, Americans have $1.46 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. Student loans represent 38% of debt for adults between 18 and 29, followed by mortgage loans at 36%.

Credit cards only represent 6% of debt for adults under 30, the lowest of all age groups. Credit cards make up 21% of debt for adults in their 50’s and 19% for adults in their 40’s.

Newly-released data from The Nilson Report shows  Mastercard and Visa purchases rose to $6.021 trillion in 2018, up 9.5% from 2017. This includes spending on credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 28, 2019. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for
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