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How Much Debt Does Each Generation Have?

·4 min read
iStock.com
iStock.com

There are currently five generations that include adults, Gen Z to the silent generation. While we can identify some patterns in the way debt flows from one generation to the next, each has a very different debt profile.

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After all, it’s not just age that affects how much of each type of debt each generation has. There are also cultural, economic and policy factors that affect how much debt each age group takes on. In general, though, the average amount of debt looks like a bell curve: Debt levels increase as you move into older generations with Gen X being the most indebted. Then, the two generations older than Gen X have decreasing levels of debt.

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In this gallery, we’ll take a look at the debt breakdown for each generation in 2020. This will cover major categories like mortgages, auto loans and student loans. As we do, keep an eye on how the total debt amount changes across generations as well as which items are driving increasing debt amounts. Read on to see how each generation is doing in terms of debt.

Last updated: Sept. 17, 2021

skynesher / Getty Images
skynesher / Getty Images

Gen Z (18-23)

  • Average debt: $16,043

  • 2019-2020 % change in debt: 67.2%

  • Average credit card balance: $1,963

  • Average mortgage balance: $169,470

  • Average auto loan balance: $15,724

  • Average personal loan balance: $6,004

  • Average student loan balance: $17,338

  • Average HELOC balance: $36,107

The youngest generation on this report, Gen Z, has the smallest amount of debt. However, it also had by far the biggest change in debt from 2019-2020.

Read: 7 Moves Gen Z Should Be Making To Protect Themselves Financially

Kar-Tr / iStock.com
Kar-Tr / iStock.com

Millennials (24-39)

  • Average debt: $87,448

  • 2019-2020 % change in debt: 11.5%

  • Average credit card balance: $4,322

  • Average mortgage balance: $237,349

  • Average auto loan balance: $19,011

  • Average personal loan balance: $12,306

  • Average student loan balance: $38,877

  • Average HELOC balance: $40,496

Millennials sit right in the middle of Gen Z and Gen X in terms of total average debt. But millennials are buying homes at the highest rates, which may help explain why their average mortgage balance is almost as high as that of Gen X.

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skynesher / Getty Images
skynesher / Getty Images

Gen X (40-55)

  • Average debt: $140,643

  • 2019-2020 % change in debt: 3.5%

  • Average credit card balance: $7,155

  • Average mortgage balance: $247,564

  • Average auto loan balance: $22,307

  • Average personal loan balance: $17,733

  • Average student loan balance: $45,095

  • Average HELOC balance: $46,660

The only type of debt Gen X doesn’t have the most of is personal loans; they have slightly less than baby boomers. Their change in debt from 2019-2020 remained positive, though it continues the downward trend compared to younger generations.

Check Out: A Look at Gen Z’s Financial Habits, From Spending to Saving and More

monkeybusinessimages / iStock.com
monkeybusinessimages / iStock.com

Baby Boomers (56-74)

  • Average debt: $97,290

  • 2019-2020 % change in debt:0.3%

  • Average credit card balance: $6,043

  • Average mortgage balance: $178,688

  • Average auto loan balance: $19,306

  • Average personal loan balance: $19,700

  • Average student loan balance: $40,512

  • Average HELOC balance: $41,498

Baby boomers had only a slight increase in total average debt from 2019-2020. Despite the increase, their total average debt was quite a bit less than that of Gen X in 2020.

Good News: Gen Z Teens Exceed Past Generations in Financial Literacy

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Silent Generation (75+)

  • Average debt: $41,281

  • 2019-2020 % change in debt: -4.6%

  • Average credit card balance: $3,177

  • Average mortgage balance: $133,827

  • Average auto loan balance: $14,750

  • Average personal loan balance: $17,123

  • Average student loan balance: $28,052

  • Average HELOC balance: $35,929

The silent generation had over $40,000 of debt in 2020, but it is the only generation on the report to have decreased its total debt from 2019-2020. That helped them have the second-lowest amount of debt overall, after Gen Z.

See: Surprising Ways Gen Z and Millennials Are Worlds Apart Financially

dblight / Getty Images
dblight / Getty Images

United States Averages

  • Average debt: $92,727

  • 2019-2020 % change in debt: 0.3%

  • Average credit card balance: $5,315

  • Average mortgage balance: $208,185

  • Average auto loan balance: $19,703

  • Average personal loan balance: $16,458

  • Average student loan balance: $38,792

  • Average HELOC balance: $41,954

Taking a look at the entire United States, we can see that total average debt only increased slightly, in line with the change for baby boomers. The total average was $92,727 in 2020 with student loans and auto loans making up the bulk of that number.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates used data from Experian's 2020 Consumer Debt Study to find how much debt Americans have at every age. Experian's data breaks down debt along generational lines with age ranges as follows: Gen Z 18-23, Millenials 24-39, Gen X 40-55, Baby boomers 56-74, and the Silent generation 75+. For each generation, GOBankingRates found (1) the average total debt balance, (2) the percent change in average total debt balance from 2019-2020, (3) the average credit card balance, (4) the average mortgage balance, (5) the average auto loan balance, (6) the average personal loan balance, (7) the average student loan balance, and (8) the average home equity line of credit (HELOC) balance from Experian. All data was collected on and up to date as of Sept. 7, 2021.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Much Debt Does Each Generation Have?