Generation X: Caught in the Middle of Heavy-Debt Years

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Americans that are part of Generation X—middle-aged folks between ages 39 and 54—carry more debt across nearly all credit products than any other generation.

And when it comes to credit scores, the average FICO® Score for Gen Xers is 687. That's only 14 points lower than the national average, but it's a gaping 45 points lower than baby boomers—ages 55 to 73—who carried the second-most debt of any generation.

As part of our larger review of American debt, and to learn more about credit characteristics of Generation X, Experian analyzed consumer credit data from the fourth quarter of 2018 to find insights on how the generation's debt and credit compared with their peers. Read on for our insights and analysis.

After Age 48, Overall Debt Levels Begin to Decrease

Total average debt balances reach a peak at age 44 and remain relatively the same until age 48, at which point balances start to shrink, according to Experian data. At age 44, Americans have a total average debt balance of $138,916—which is nearly 50% more than the national average.

At age 48, however, average debt totals begin to shrink, reducing to $138,161. The trend of overall average debt decreasing continues for the remaining Generation Xers and beyond.

Generation X Carried the Most Average Debt in Nearly Every Debt Category

With the exception of personal loans, members of Generation X carried higher average balances than any other generation across all major debt categories, according to Experian data. Baby boomers out-borrowed their younger peers in the personal loan category by 11%, with an average personal loan balance of $19,403 compared with Gen Xers' $17,277.

In all other credit categories, however, Generation X had more average debt.

Credit Snapshot: Debt and Credit for Generation X
SnapshotGeneration XNational Average
Average FICO® Score687701
Average Number of Credit Cards4.23.8
Average Credit Card Balance$8,467$6,445
Average Student Loan Balance$38,879$34,906
Average Auto Loan Balance$21,402$19,117
Average Personal Loan Balance$17,277$16,249
Average Total Balance$134,323$93,446

Source: Experian Q4 2018 data

If you're a member of Generation X, have substantial debt and are looking for a way to manage it, consider creating a repayment plan or consolidating your debt. You can also get a free copy of your credit reports and scores from Experian to see exactly what's in your credit file.

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