- Naema Ahmed
- Jul 21
Average U.S. household has 828% more student debt than in 1999
Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt as the second largest type of debt in American households. From 1999 to 2016, credit card debt grew a meager 23.6 percent compared to student loan debt, which jumped by 828 percent. It's the only category that hasn't seen a decline since 1999, reflecting an increasing amount of borrowing for tuition as well as an increasing amount of overall borrowers. Even after adjusting for inflation, the growth of student loan debt is astronomical.
Data: Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios
The data: The data used in this chart comes the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data. The figures were calculated from a sampling of 5 percent of the population across the United States. The 'other' category includes consumer finance debt, retail card debt and other unclassified debts.
You'll notice a dip in the chart starting after 2008 with all debts, except student loans, seeing a sizable decrease. Mortgage debt fell in 2009 and continued to fall after the housing market crash until the last quarter of 2016, when it increased by 0.82 percent. Credit card debt and auto loans increased faster and earlier. In 2016, credit card debt increased by 4.6 percent from the previous year and auto loans increased by 6.6 percent.