The next generation faces the highest amount of student debt of any generation

Around the time many of our parents were starting their careers, few households led by young adults were burdened by student debt. In 1989, for instance, only 15 percent of households led by 25- to 38-year-olds carried some level of student debt – compared to 41 percent in 2019.

Student Debt New

Not only is the next generation more likely to assume student debt than previous generations, but the amount of debt they’ve taken on is also far higher. In 1989, 25- to 38-year-old households carried an average student debt of just $13,074, adjusted for inflation. By 2019, the average debt level had surged to $47,608 – nearly four times as much.

Student Debt Graphic 2

More young people than ever before are going to college – and that’s great. But with student debt levels rising and incomes largely stagnant, it’s no wonder our generation worries we’ll be worse off than our parents.