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Research and Statistics

For millennials and Gen X, credit card debt anxiety rivals student loan stress

A new survey finds 30% of Gen Xers and 19% of millennials have card balances in excess of $10,000

Summary

Credit card debt can be a source of anxiety for consumers of any generation, but millennials and Gen Xers are particularly stressed about it, according to a new Morning Consult/Insider survey.

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Six in 10 Americans with credit card debt say they feel stressed about the balances they’re carrying. But for millennials and Generation X, the anxiety is especially acute, rivaling the stress of student loan debt.

A recent Morning Consult/Insider survey found that Generation X adults (age 39-54) were the most likely generation to be carrying credit card debt, at 54%. And among those, 30% reported having card balances in excess of $10,000.

When asked if different debts cause them stress, more Gen Xers replied with “a lot” or “some” for credit cards than for any other debt type, including student loans. Two-thirds of Generation X adults with card debt (66%) indicated they were stressed by the balances, while 64% reported the same for student loans.

See related: Millennials worry more than older generations about their credit

Among millennials (age 23-38), the survey found that less than half reported having card debt (48%). And only 19% said they are carrying balances of $10,000 or more, significantly lower than the 30% of Gen Xers holding these high balances.

Still, 65% of millennials with card debt reported being stressed by their credit card balances, closely aligning with the 66% stress indicator among Gen X adults.

Undergraduate student loans did slightly edge out credit card debt as a millennial stressor, with 68% of millennials with student loans saying that the obligation causes them “a lot” or “some” stress.

Morning Consult/Insider’s National Tracking Poll was conducted online in late September 2019, among 2,200 U.S. adults. Results were weighted to mirror U.S. population demographics and were released Oct. 10.

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