At this rate it feels like we’re going to be haunted by the specter of student loan debt for the rest of our nation’s history: A new record one-in-five households in America, about 19%, owed student debt in 2010. That’s more than twice what it was 20 years ago and is a big uptick from the 15% that owed in 2007 before the Great Recession hit and made all our money woes worse.
A Pew Research Center analysis took advantage of some newly available government data to come up with the results, which are a bit staggering. In all the households headed by someone younger than 35, 40% of those owed student debt, which was the biggest share of any of the age groups.
The research also found that when you total up a household’s income or assets, the amount of student loan debt owed is more in the bottom fifth of the income groups, even if people in those households were less likely to go to college in the first place. In fact since 2007, student debt has spread across the board, spanning age groups and economic statuses and getting bigger as it goes.
The average outstanding student loan balance went from $23,349 per household in 2007 to $26,682 in 2010. Most did have less than $50,000 in outstanding debt in 2010 but more households owed a higher amount of debt.
Part of the reason this could be happening is that students are going back to school or taking on more debt in tough economic times — when jobs are scarce so is money, and the only way to provide an income sometimes is to take out student loans.
For more on Pew’s results, check out the source link below.
A Record One-in-Five Households Now Owe Student Loan Debt [Pew Social Trends]