Feb. 25, 2013 – Consumers under 35 years of age have reduced their debt loads following the Great Recession but also have fewer assets like homes and cars, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
The median debt of households headed by these consumers fell 29 percent from 2007 to 2010, Pew reports. Households headed by adults 35 and older saw a decline in median debt of just 8 percent over the same time period.
The Pew study also showed that the share of younger households under 35 holding debt of any kind fell to 78 percent, the lowest level since the government began collecting such data in 1983.
Richard Fry, a senior research associate with the Pew center and author of the report, said the findings aren’t necessarily a net positive for consumers under 35. “Younger adults may not have the debt, but they don’t have the assets either – and that’s probably a bad thing.”
Other key findings from the study:
- Fewer consumers under 25 are owning or leasing a car – the study found that 73 percent of households under 25 owned or leased a car in 2007; that fell to 66 percent in 2011.
- The share of consumers under 35 owning a home fell from 40 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2011.
- The share of consumers under 35 that said they owed student debt rose from 34 percent in 2007 to 40 percent in 2010.
Pew’s study was based on an analysis of data from the Federal Reserve Board and other government sources.