Young adults are pulling back on credit-card debt for similar reasons, said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a public policy research organization. It found that Americans age 25 to 34 cut their credit card debt in half between 2008 and 2012.
All around them, young adults are seeing signs of financial distress -- job insecurity, foreclosures, high college costs. That's making them think twice about applying for loans, she said.
"Young people are being cautious in this difficult economic time," Traub said. "They are reluctant to take on debt."