More than half of millennials have credit card debt

Many millennials are in the red.

More than half (51.5%) of respondents in a new survey from Insider and Morning Consult said they have credit card debt. The survey asked 2,096 Americans about their financial health, debt and income for a new series, “The State of Our Money.” More than 670 respondents were millennials, defined as 23-38 years old in 2019.

Of those with credit card debt, just over half (54%) said they owed less than $5,000, and 24% said they owed between $5,000 and $10,000. The remaining quarter said they owe significantly more – 9% owe $10,000 to $20,000, 4.5% owe $20,000 to $30,000 and 4.5% owe more than $30,000.

And it stresses them all. About 67% of millennial respondents with credit card debt said they had a lot or a little stress about it, even those with smaller debts. About 55% of those $5,000 in debt were stressed about it, compared to 82% of those with $5,000-10,000 in the hole and 84% of those with $10,000-20,000 in the hole.

Read more: Millennials and Gen Xers are both stressed, broke and in debt – but Gen Xers are more worried about it

Cost of living outpaces income growth for millennials

These indebted millennial respondents reflect some of the financial issues facing their generation as a whole, particularly with respect to the rising cost of living that outpaces their income growth.

Several studies show that millennials have less purchasing power than previous generations at the same age. A 2018 report from Student Loan Hero which found that rent, house prices, and tuition have all risen faster than incomes in the United States.

It doesn’t help that people aged 25 to 34 on average have seen their incomes rise by just $29 since 1974 after adjusting for inflation, according to a recent SuperMoney report that analyzed data from the US Census Bureau. That year, they earned an average of $35,426. In 2017, this amount was only $35,455.

This is well below inflation-adjusted income growth for other age groups – $2,900 for adults aged 35 to 44 and nearly $5,400 for those aged 45 to 54 over the same period.

When most of a minimal income ends up increasing housing and education costs, it’s easy to end up putting living expenses on a credit card.

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