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Research and Statistics

Millennials aren’t as debt-saddled as you may think, survey shows

A study from New York Life reveals 43% of millennials have never racked up $5,000 in non-mortgage debt, and only 4% have reached six figures

Summary

According to a new survey, which asked U.S. adults what their highest level of non-mortgage debt has been since they turned 18, only 4% of millennials reported that their debt reached into six figures. And 43% of millennials indicated their debt has never risen to even $5,000.

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Despite the perception of millennials being more debt-saddled than other generations, recently released survey data from New York Life indicate that millennials’ maximum debt levels are likely lower than you think.

According to the survey, which asked U.S. adults what their highest level of debt has been since they turned 18 (with mortgages excluded), only 4% of millennials reported that their debt reached into six figures; i.e., $100,000 or more.

At the other end of the spectrum, 43% of millennials indicated their debt has never risen to even $5,000.

See related: Millennials value credit scores over social media followers, study shows

Add to that another share (19%) whose highest debt has ranged from $5,000 to $9,999, and you find that more than 6 in 10 millennials (62%) have so far kept their debt below $10,000.

The survey also found that most millennials (57%) are still carrying half or more of their debt, with only 15% reporting they have managed to pay it all off.

New York Life’s survey was conducted online in mid-November by Morning Consult. Polling a national sample of 2,201 adults, including approximately 600 millennials (age 23-38), the findings were weighted to U.S. population demographics and released Dec. 10.

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