Student loan debt stats for 2019: Breakdown by age, location and credit score

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In a Nutshell

A Credit Karma analysis found average student loan debt is high across all generations, locations, and credit scores — but some are dealing with more debt than others.

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Average student loan debt over the past 12 months was $34,662 — but this varies based on age, city and credit score, a Credit Karma analysis found.

When it comes to age, for example, our analysis found millennial Credit Karma members shoulder the biggest student loan burden, with a total student loan debt of about $302 billion. But Gen X members have the highest average student loan balance per person at $42,557 each.

We also found that some U.S. cities have members with higher average student loan debt than others, and that student loan debt varies for members who fall into different TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score ranges — with members in the 660 to 759 range having the highest total student loan debt burden. (Learn about our methodology.)

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Additional findings

Average student loan debt among Credit Karma members has risen nearly 7% year over year, from $33,686 in March 2018 to $35,910 in March 2019.
Millennial Credit Karma members carry the highest total burden of student loan debt, at more than $302 billion in total student debt. Meanwhile, Gen X members have the highest average debt per person at $42,557 each.
Average student loan debt is highest among members in Washington, D.C., at $54,377. This is more than twice the average student debt in Laredo, Texas, which has the lowest average student debt at $22,632.
Compared with other score ranges, members with VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from TransUnion of 660 to 759 carry the highest total student loan burden, with more than $168 billion in total student loan debt. But members with scores of 580 to 659 carry the highest average student loan debt per person, at nearly $37,000 each.

What’s the average student loan debt across generations?

Average student loan debt is in the tens of thousands of dollars for many adults aged 18 to 75 who are Credit Karma members, our analysis found.

Gen Z members 18 to 24 years old have the least total student loan debt, at about $37 billion. This breaks down to an average of $17,057 each — much less than the average student loan debt carried by every other age group.

Millennial members, on the other hand, are facing crushing student loan debt. In fact, our analysis found that this generation’s total student loan debt accounts for 55% of all total student loan debt among Credit Karma members — at about $302 billion. This means that each millennial member carries nearly $35,000 in student loan debt — that could be enough to purchase a new car or even be enough for a down payment on a home.

Still, Gen Xers and baby boomers who are members of Credit Karma are also under the weight of student loan debt. Gen Xers have the highest average student loan debt at more than $42,000 each, with baby boomers close behind at more than $40,000 each.

Average student loan debt for Credit Karma members by generation

Generation Total student loan debt Average student loan debt
Gen Z $37,185,473,039 $17,057
Millennials $302,327,280,713 $34,943
Gen X $154,185,702,786 $42,557
Baby boomers $52,492,424,622 $40,144

 

A pie chart that breaks down the total student loan debt burden by generation

What cities have the highest and lowest average student loan debt?

Washington, D.C., isn’t just the nation’s capital, it’s also the capital of student loan debt. Our research shows the average student loan debt of Credit Karma members who live there is $54,377. That’s almost $4,000 more than the average in Atlanta, the city with the second-highest average student loan debt.

What’s more, people with student loan debt in Washington, D.C., carry more than twice the average student loan debt than those who live in Laredo, Texas, the city with members who — at $22,632 — carry the lowest average debt.

10 cities with highest average student loan debt

Rank City Average student loan debt held by Credit Karma members
1 Washington, D.C. $54,377
2 Atlanta $50,608
3 Durham, N.C. $50,122
4 Irvine, Calif. $49,851
5 Boston $49,077
6 New Orleans $46,176
7 San Francisco $46,033
8 Nashville, Tenn. $44,518
9 Oakland, Calif. $43,991
10 Charlotte, N.C. $43,529

 

10 cities with lowest average student loan debt

Rank City Average student loan debt held by Credit Karma members
1 Laredo, Texas $22,632
2 Corpus Christi, Texas $28,423
3 Fresno, Calif. $28,631
4 Bakersfield, Calif. $28,729
5 Santa Ana, Calif. $28,940
6 Stockton, Calif. $29,278
7 El Paso, Texas $29,628
8 San Bernardino, Calif. $29,981
9 Anchorage, Alaska $30,274
10 Garland, Texas $30,479

What’s the average student loan debt by credit score range?

As we saw when looking at average student loan debt by age, looking at average student loan debt across TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score bands shows that Americans in all credit ranges are affected by student loan debt.

VantageScore 3.0 score band Total student loan debt held by Credit Karma members Average student loan debt held by Credit Karma members
Thin file (no score) $3,706,777 $9,833
Lower than 500 $48,197,189,205 $27,493
500-579 $119,630,668,455 $33,041
580-659 $163,778,019,815 $36,876
660-759 $168,988,554,530 $36,034
760 and higher $46,016,389,500 $35,736

 

In the chart above, those with VantageScore 3.0 scores between 580 and 659 have the highest average student loan debt, at almost $37,000 each, while those in the 660 to 759 range carry the highest overall student debt burden.


Methodology

To determine the average student loan debt among Credit Karma members, we looked at those who had student loan debt between April 2018 and March 2019 (approximately 16 million members). In aggregate, we analyzed the amount of student loan debt carried by certain age groups and VantageScore 3.0 credit score bands from TransUnion. We also aggregated ZIP codes from members’ TransUnion credit reports to determine the most-populated U.S. cities where members help the most student loan debt on average.