Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt Among Young Americans

Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt Among Young Americans

October 13, 2004
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Over the 1990s, credit card debt among young Americans rose dramatically—leaving many young adults over-extended and vulnerable to financial collapse. This briefing paper documents the rise in credit card and student loan debt between 1992 and 2001 and examines the factors contributing to young adults’ increased reliance on credit cards. Rising costs combined with slow real wage growth and skyrocketing college debt have eroded the economic security of today’s young adults. Generation Broke is the second in a series of Borrowing to Make Ends Meet Briefing Papers documenting trends in debt among subgroups of the population.