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A look at our generational changing debt and credit scores

A recent infographic released by the global information agency Experian has broken down how the average American debt and credit score has changed over the course of four generations, from the Greatest Generation to Generation Y.
The Greatest Generation has a below average debt of $38,043, over 50% below the national average. They have an average credit score of 829, which is 10.39% above the average. The largest portion of their debt is spent on their 1st and 2nd mortgages. They have a bankcard debt that is 43% higher than the national average.
Baby Boomers have an above average debt of $101,951 per person and a slightly above average credit score of 782. Their debt is above the national average on only the 2nd mortgage, but overall Baby Boomers have solid credit because they're managing their debt responsibly.
Generation X, which describes the age range of 30-46, has the highest amount of debt and the second to lowest credit score, $111,121 and 718 respectively. They have over 40% more debt than other generations, including considerable above average debt with student loans and slightly above average debt on 1st mortgages.
Generation Y, which spans the age range of 19-29, is the first generation whose student loan and auto loan debts almost equals their mortgage debts, which makes up 60% of their overall debt. While they are well below the national average on overall debt, owing about $34,765 per person, they also have the worst average credit score of any generation, coming in at a measly 672. They are well over the national averages with regards to retail cards, auto loans and student loans.
What do these numbers tell us? While our average debt per person has gone down, so has the average credit score, dropping nearly 200 points over the span of four generations. Further analysis of the generational credit paradigm is available at What else can we glean from the Experian infographic? It seems that while Americans, on average, owe considerably less for their homes, they're owing considerably more on education and transportation loans. The cost of being successful enough to attain the American Dream (that is, funding a college education and affording the transportation necessary to get to work thereafter) has gone up while the value of the American Dream (traditionally represented by home ownership) has gone down.


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