Aggregate debt among younger borrowers fell between 2003 and 2015, while debt held by borrowers aged 50 to 80 rose 60% over the same 12-year period. A team of staffers at Liberty Street Economics used the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel to examine the allocation of debt for millennials and baby boomers.
In an analysis from NY Fed researchers Meta Brown, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, Katherine Strair, and Wilbert van der Klaauw, findings show that debt's pendulum swung heavily to the older generation as the population aged, and as debt per borrower for each individual age balooned. While debt aggregates increased for older people, the younger generation saw no discernible increase:
First, at each age the average student loan balance per borrower more than doubles. Second, the age distribution of each debt type shifts decisively to the right. Younger borrowers hold lower per capita balances in every debt category save student loans, and older borrowers hold higher per capita balances in every debt category save credit card debt.