A personal finance web log published by the New York Times discusses a recent survey which suggests younger consumers are carrying more debt and taking long to pay it off than did previous generations at the same age and suggests that financial education efforts may need to be heightened.
The survey, conducted by Lucia Dunn, an economics professor at Ohio State University, and Sarah Jiang, a credit card executive, and published in a peer-reviewed economic journal, found that someone born from 1980 to 1984 has credit card debt substantially higher than debt held by the previous two generations.
The research found that, on average, the young person carried debt about $5,000 more than his or her parents at the same stage of life, and about $8,000 more than his or her grandparents.
The researchers cited several reasons for the phenomenon, including the increased availability of credit and a relaxation of social stigma surrounding debt and bankruptcy. “It’s a lot more socially acceptable to have debt and go into bankruptcy,” Dunn said.
The survey said that younger people are paying off their debt more slowly. The study estimated that the younger borrowers’ payoff rate is 24 percentage points lower than their parents’ and about 77 percentage points lower than their grandparents’ rate.