Why Are So Many Millennials in Debt? The Hip but Ugly Truth

By Melissa Cook Reviewed by Minh Tong Updated Aug 15, 2018
Why Are So Many Millennials in Debt? The Hip but Ugly Truth

Millennials are known for their love of travel, social media, and avocado toast. But increasingly America’s millennials are being defined by debt. Since they are now the country’s largest generation—83.1 million people, according to the US Census Bureau—the millennial debt crisis is a national issue.

Millennials are the most indebted generation in history. A quarter of all US citizens aged 18 to 34 owe more than $30,000. This startling figure is from a new poll conducted by NBC and The University of Chicago. As this is a poll the data is self-reported, so the real figure could be even higher.

But what’s so wrong with millennials? They’re not especially lazy, and they’re currently in their workforce prime. What’s leading to so much millennial debt? Here are a few key factors:

Student Loans

Millennials are also the most educated generation in American history, which unfortunately coincides with a drastic decrease in government funding for higher education. Student loans have made up the difference. According to the Federal Reserve, the average millennial college grad holds $22,135 in student loan debt. Many college students need to accept loans to fund their tuition and educational expenses because their parents can’t afford to help them out, despite the bill that will be waiting for them at their graduation.

2008 Recession

More unfortunate timing for millennials: many of them entered adulthood during the largest financial disaster since the 1930s. Plenty of fully qualified grads were left jobless, living in their parents’ basement, and surviving off credit cards. The Merrill Edge Report found the 2008 Recession affected how millenials spend, save and manage their money. Many didn’t have the ability to save because of the credit card minimum payments they were having to make each month.

Credit Cards

Unlike earlier generations, millennials have easy access to quick cash and credit, which makes spending on essential or non-essential goods almost impossible to resist, especially when you have to have the craft IPA every night out. Millenials using credit cards continue to swipe without thinking how much debt they are racking up, which comes to haunt them after their debt has become too much to handle. 

If you’re a millennial swamped by credit card debt, Americor can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our debt solutions will have you back on your feet (and out of your parents’ basement) in no time.


Melissa Cook

Melissa has a degree in English and marketing from University of California Irvine. She is a creative and accomplished content writer and editor with comprehensive experience developing rich, compelling content for a variety of websites. With her expertise in writing a broad range of content, combined with outstanding interpersonal skills and commitment to exploring innovative ideas, Melissa has done an excellent job developing content for blogs, articles, social media, and the company website. When she is not writing, Melissa spends most of her time cooking, traveling the world, and catching her favorite Broadway shows.