Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Data on Student Loan Debt

For those interested in tracking the problem of student loan debt, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is now providing quarterly data--including the demographics of borrowers--on its Liberty Street Economics blog. As of the third quarter of 2011, the outstanding balance on student loans ($870 billion) exceeded the outstanding balance on credit cards ($693 billion) or auto loans ($730 billion).

Using data provided by Equifax, the researchers were able to examine the demographics of those who have student loans. Among the 241 million Americans with an Equifax credit report, a substantial 15 percent have outstanding student loan debt. Among people under age 30, fully 40 percent have outstanding student loans. Among those aged 30 to 39, the figure is 25 percent. The average outstanding student loan balance per borrower is $23,300, and the median balance is $12,800. People in their thirties owe the most (an average of $28,500), followed by those in their forties ($26,000). The authors calculate that 27 percent of student loan borrowers have past due balances.

Because student loans have become such an important part of the consumer landscape, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will update these figures each quarter.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, Grading Student Loans

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