A Record One-in-Five Households Now Owe Student Loan Debt

Sep 26, 2012

About one out of five (19%) of the nation’s households owed student debt in 2010, more than double the share two decades earlier and a significant rise from the 15% that owed such debt in 2007, just prior to the onset of the Great Recession, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data.

The Pew Research analysis also finds that a record 40% of all households headed by someone younger than age 35 owe such debt, by far the highest share among any age group.

It also finds that, whether computed as a share of household income or assets, 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.

Since 2007 the incidence of student debt has increased in nearly every demographic and economic category, as has the size of that debt.

Read the full report, A Record One-in-Five Households Now Owe Student Loan Debt, on the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends website.

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