Record 19% of U.S. Households Owe Student Loan Debt

About one out of five, or 19 percent, of the nation’s households owed student loan debt in 2010, more than double the share 20 years ago, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
The 19 percent share is up from 15 percent of households that owed such student debt in 2007, just prior to the onset of the financial crisis and Great Recession, Pew said.
The average outstanding student loan balance increased from $23,349 in 2007 to $26,682 in 2010.
Pew’s study found that a record 40 percent of all households headed by someone younger than age 35 owe such debt, easily the highest share among any age group.
The relative burden of student loan debt is greatest for households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum, even though members of such households are less likely than those in other groups to attend college in the first place, Pew also found.
Since 2007, student debt has increased in nearly every demographic and economic category, as has the size of that debt.
Most debtor households had less than $50,000 in outstanding student debt in 2010, but the share of households owing such high amounts has increased.
In 2007, 10 percent of student debtors owed more than $54,238. By 2010, 10 percent of student debtor households owed more than $61,894.
“By the yardstick of current household annual income, the 2010 outstanding student debt was disproportionately owed by the nation’s middle- and upper-income households,” the Pew report sates.
The poorest two-fifths, or 40 percent of households – those with an annual income of $36,723 or less – owe only 24 percent of the 2010 outstanding student debt.
Read Pew’s full report.

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