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(NewsNation) — Mortgages make up the majority of household debt, but a new analysis shows most Americans owe thousands of dollars on top of their home equity loans, with Generation Xers having the highest levels of debt.

In the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the US, the average debt level (excluding mortgage) is $24,668, according to the online lending marketplace LendingTree. Members of Generation X, i.e. between the ages of 44 and 59, owed $33,859, the highest debt of the four generations studied.


Millennials were not far behind, with $30,558 in debt (excluding mortgage loans), including credit cards, auto loans, student loans and personal loans.

The amount of debt also varies greatly by region. According to LendingTree, consumers in McAllen, Texas, have the highest auto debt of any generation.

Generation Z members in northeastern cities such as Boston and New Haven, Connecticut, had the highest student loan debt, while millennials in southeastern cities such as Durham, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, had higher student loan debt.

The analysis is based on more than 428,000 anonymized credit reports from LendingTree users in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. The credit reports are from October 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024.

Average non-mortgage debt by generation, according to LendingTree:

  1. Generation X (44–59 years): 33,859 USD
  2. Millennials (28-43 years): 30,558 USD
  3. Baby boomers (60-78 years): 18,779 USD
  4. Generation Z (18-27 years): 16,562 USD

The debt situation of Generation X

Across all generations, Gen Xers in the 100 largest metros have the highest non-mortgage debt at $33,859. This cohort also has the largest share of people in debt, with nearly 99% having some form of debt, LendingTree found.

Generation X led the way in three of the four categories analyzed. The 44-59 age group has the highest average credit card, auto loan and student loan balances.

Where they owe the most: Four of the five metropolitan areas where Gen Xers have the most debt are in Texas. McAllen tops the list, where Gen Xers have a median debt of $46,166. High auto loans appear to be the main culprit in the Lone Star State, with the typical Gen Xer’s auto debt hovering around $29,000 in several cities.

Generation X credit card balances were highest in the Northeast and Florida, with Bridgeport, Connecticut ($8,669) and New York City ($7,922) topping the list, followed by Miami ($7,797), Lakeland ($7,777) and Cape Coral ($7,714), Florida.

Only 25% of Generation Xers still have student loans, but their median balance is $31,066, the highest of any generation.

The debt situation in the millennium

Although Millennials have had less time to accumulate debt than Generation X, they are already well ahead of the much older Baby Boomers: Their average debt level (excluding mortgage) is $30,558.

For those ages 28-43, student and auto loans are the biggest challenges. Millennials have the second-highest auto loan debt of any generation, with nearly 60% of respondents carrying an average debt of $20,826.

Although their average student loan balance is lower than that of Generation X, Millennials are the most likely to be affected by this type of debt. Over 38% of Millennials have student debt and their median balance is $24,112.

Where they owe the most: Three of the five largest cities are in Texas, with El Paso topping the list. Millennials in the West Texas city have an average debt level of $42,982 (excluding mortgage).

Here, too, auto loans are a major factor. According to the analysis, five of the six U.S. cities where millennials have the highest auto debt are in Texas.

When it comes to student loans, millennials in Washington DC have the most debt at $31,895. The nation’s capital is followed by Durham ($30,606) and Raleigh ($30,119), North Carolina; Atlanta ($29,724) and Columbia, South Carolina ($29,353).

The debt situation of the baby boomers

Although the Baby Boomers are the oldest generation in the analysis, they have significantly less debt (excluding mortgages) than Generation X and Millennials. In the country’s largest metropolitan areas, their average debt level is $18,779.

The age group between 60 and 78 is most likely to have credit card debt, with 93% carrying a balance. Their median balance is $4,862, the second highest of the generations studied.

Baby boomers fare much better when it comes to student loans, with only 11% still having them. They also have less debt on their cars, with only 48% delinquent on car loans, the second lowest rate for this generation.

Where they owe the most: McAllen, Texas ($33,020) again topped the list, followed by Augusta, Georgia ($29,754), San Antonio ($28,524), Austin ($26,686) and Dallas ($25,965).

Despite having the lowest percentage of personal loans, baby boomers’ debt is the highest, averaging $5,363. In Honolulu, Hawaii, it’s a staggering $12,676 in personal loans.

The debt situation of Generation Z

The youngest generation in the study has the least debt ($16,652), but the vast majority, 97%, still carry a balance.

When it comes to student loans, Gen Z owes significantly less than other generations. Their average balance is $12,172—about half of what Millennials owe for college. That’s partly because many 18- to 27-year-olds are still in college, but they’re also less likely to be in college at all.

Generation Z members are also relatively likely to have car debt: About 47% of the country’s youngest adults have an average car loan amount of $17,402, according to the analysis.

Where they owe the most: McAllen ($27,781) and El Paso, Texas ($22,476) ranked at the top for Gen Z, but the rest of the top ten were more geographically diverse than the other generations. Cities like Cape Coral, Florida ($21,208), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ($21,178) and Syracuse, New York ($21,116) were also among the cities with the highest levels of debt for Gen Z.

Young adults in the Northeast have particularly high levels of student loan debt, with Boston ($20,986) coming in first, followed by New Haven ($20,173), Bridgeport ($19,250), and Hartford ($18,481), Connecticut.