The Median Debt of Americans

by Age, Education, and Other Demographics

Written by Carly Hallman

How much debt does the average American have, and which Americans have the most debt? We’ve taken a deep dive into U.S. debt statistics and demographics to find those who are taking out the most cash in loans and charges. We’ve found some upsetting facts.

What is the average American debt?

The median household debt in America is $59,800.

This is perhaps alarming considering that the United States median household income is less — about $59,039 — and according to household income distribution statistics, most of us will never have more than $100,000 in yearly income. It seems like we’re gathering quite a lot of debt. Why? While data varies, most Americans have mortgages as their top type of debt, though student loans, auto loans, and credit card debts are also very high.

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Which generation has the most debt?

While we love to point our fingers at one generation, with baby boomers often ridiculously pitted against millennials like high school rivals, it’s actually Gen-X’ers who have racked up the most debt out of modern generations.

If you take a closer look at average debt by age, those in the younger part of Generation X, between the ages of 35 and 44, had $93,700 of debt, with the older half of this generation (between 45 and 54 years old) close to that at $89,900. Studying average American debt by age tells us that those under 35 and over 65 tend to have the lowest amounts of debt, often because they’ve not accumulated much debt or have paid it off already, respectively.

Who has the most debt out of all of us?

The top 10% of Americans with the highest net worth are the biggest debtors.

If you have a lot of money to begin with, you have more debt, according to our final U.S. debt graph that compares debt to net worth. Those in the top 10% by income have a median of $222,200 in debt, whereas those in the bottom 25% have less than $20,900. Those with managerial jobs ($125,000 average household debt) have the most by occupation. Conventional families made of a couple with children ($110,500 in debt) had the most out of any family type. In short, often, those who are the most well-off have the most debt on average; meanwhile, the small amounts that underprivileged groups (such as high-school dropouts, at $15,900) have in debt can still be crippling due to having less means to pay it off.

How many Americans are in debt?

It’s estimated that 80% of us have debt, so if you’re working toward being debt-free, it’s quite an uphill battle.

On the other hand, this data on U.S. household debt can help you gauge where you and your family stand. Can you be compared to the average American in your situation? Compare your salary, education level, race, age group, and family structure and see if you’re in the ballpark debt-wise. If your average household debt is high, consider creating a budget and working toward lowering it. For some, this might be alarming. For others, it’s reassuring. See if your debt compares to the median debt of Americans today!

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