Millennial Credit Card Balances by State

Millennial Credit Card Balances by State article image.

Millennials, 25 to 40 years old in 2021, have faced a fair amount of economic setbacks as they've come of age. From the Great Recession to spiking college costs and an average net worth trailing that of previous generations, many millennials are finding it difficult to achieve financial goals like buying a house or paying off credit card debt.

Not all millennials are spending (or saving) equally, however. We ranked members of this generation by state and found that their credit card debt and income vary greatly across the U.S.

On one end of the spectrum, millennials in Alaska had the highest average credit card debt in the nation at nearly $5,400, according to Experian consumer credit data from August 2021. On the other end, millennials in Mississippi, which we previously reported as the most affordable state to live in, maintained the lowest average credit card debt—but they also had the lowest income per capita and lowest average credit scores.

As part of our ongoing look at debt in the U.S., Experian analyzed data from August 2021 to see which states ranked the highest in millennial credit card debt. Our analysis looked at all 50 states in the U.S. (plus Washington, D.C.) to explore how income, credit card debt and credit score differ across members of the millennial generation. Read on for our insights and analysis.

Millennial Credit Card Debt by State

  1. Alaska

    • Average credit card debt: $5,388
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.79
    • Average income: $65,501
    • Average FICO® Score : 691
  2. Washington, D.C.

    • Average credit card debt: $5,118
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.07
    • Average income: $90,043
    • Average FICO® Score: 715
  3. New Jersey

    • Average credit card debt: $5,034
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.85
    • Average income: $77,193
    • Average FICO® Score: 702
  4. Virginia

    • Average credit card debt: $4,999
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.23
    • Average income: $63,969
    • Average FICO® Score: 694
  5. Connecticut

    • Average credit card debt: $4,975
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.55
    • Average income: $81,848
    • Average FICO® Score: 698
  6. Hawaii

    • Average credit card debt: $4,948
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.16
    • Average income: $60,807
    • Average FICO® Score: 704
  7. Florida

    • Average credit card debt: $4,888
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.46
    • Average income: $58,441
    • Average FICO® Score: 671
  8. Texas

    • Average credit card debt: $4,885
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.43
    • Average income: $57,794
    • Average FICO® Score: 667
  9. Colorado

    • Average credit card debt: $4,841
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.23
    • Average income: $66,679
    • Average FICO® Score: 702
  10. New York

    • Average credit card debt: $4,786
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.58
    • Average income: $78,404
    • Average FICO® Score: 701
  11. Maryland

    • Average credit card debt: $4,777
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.25
    • Average income: $70,002
    • Average FICO® Score: 690
  12. Nevada

    • Average credit card debt: $4,725
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.43
    • Average income: $55,577
    • Average FICO® Score: 670
  13. North Dakota

    • Average credit card debt: $4,712
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.08
    • Average income: $65,914
    • Average FICO® Score: 706
  14. Washington

    • Average credit card debt: $4,582
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.25
    • Average income: $70,441
    • Average FICO® Score: 710
  15. Rhode Island

    • Average credit card debt: $4,581
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.56
    • Average income: $61,624
    • Average FICO® Score: 694
  16. California

    • Average credit card debt: $4,578
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.61
    • Average income: $74,304
    • Average FICO® Score: 697
  17. Georgia

    • Average credit card debt: $4,573
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.14
    • Average income: $54,442
    • Average FICO® Score: 662
  18. Wyoming

    • Average credit card debt: $4,571
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.78
    • Average income: $63,589
    • Average FICO® Score: 689
  19. Illinois

    • Average credit card debt: $4,568
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.54
    • Average income: $67,243
    • Average FICO® Score: 692
  20. New Hampshire

    • Average credit card debt: $4,483
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.20
    • Average income: $68,126
    • Average FICO® Score: 703
  21. Kansas

    • Average credit card debt: $4,450
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.15
    • Average income: $58,380
    • Average FICO® Score: 690
  22. Delaware

    • Average credit card debt: $4,441
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.33
    • Average income: $57,504
    • Average FICO® Score: 678
  23. Montana

    • Average credit card debt: $4,410
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.87
    • Average income: $55,533
    • Average FICO® Score: 696
  24. Massachusetts

    • Average credit card debt: $4,396
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.31
    • Average income: $81,995
    • Average FICO® Score: 710
  25. Arizona

    • Average credit card debt: $4,394
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.27
    • Average income: $50,373
    • Average FICO® Score: 676
  26. Nebraska

    • Average credit card debt: $4,394
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.25
    • Average income: $61,289
    • Average FICO® Score: 703
  27. Oklahoma

    • Average credit card debt: $4,355
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.90
    • Average income: $51,564
    • Average FICO® Score: 660
  28. Pennsylvania

    • Average credit card debt: $4,353
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.40
    • Average income: $63,276
    • Average FICO® Score: 693
  29. South Carolina

    • Average credit card debt: $4,352
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.92
    • Average income: $49,737
    • Average FICO® Score: 656
  30. North Carolina

    • Average credit card debt: $4,302
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.11
    • Average income: $52,568
    • Average FICO® Score: 676
  31. Tennessee

    • Average credit card debt: $4,254
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.96
    • Average income: $53,340
    • Average FICO® Score: 670
  32. Minnesota

    • Average credit card debt: $4,243
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.14
    • Average income: $64,674
    • Average FICO® Score: 716
  33. Utah

    • Average credit card debt: $4,236
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.15
    • Average income: $53,539
    • Average FICO® Score: 707
  34. South Dakota

    • Average credit card debt: $4,232
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.77
    • Average income: $62,446
    • Average FICO® Score: 704
  35. Louisiana

    • Average credit card debt: $4,230
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.90
    • Average income: $53,281
    • Average FICO® Score: 658
  36. West Virginia

    • Average credit card debt: $4,213
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.08
    • Average income: $46,343
    • Average FICO® Score: 659
  37. Missouri

    • Average credit card debt: $4,192
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.11
    • Average income: $54,120
    • Average FICO® Score: 677
  38. Ohio

    • Average credit card debt: $4,154
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.29
    • Average income: $55,767
    • Average FICO® Score: 682
  39. New Mexico

    • Average credit card debt: $4,152
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.99
    • Average income: $48,161
    • Average FICO® Score: 664
  40. Oregon

    • Average credit card debt: $4,090
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.10
    • Average income: $58,544
    • Average FICO® Score: 703
  41. Maine

    • Average credit card debt: $4,038
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.89
    • Average income: $55,634
    • Average FICO® Score: 691
  42. Alabama

    • Average credit card debt: $4,017
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.79
    • Average income: $48,133
    • Average FICO® Score: 653
  43. Idaho

    • Average credit card debt: $4,003
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.13
    • Average income: $50,240
    • Average FICO® Score: 694
  44. Arkansas

    • Average credit card debt: $3,990
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.94
    • Average income: $49,079
    • Average FICO® Score: 658
  45. Iowa

    • Average credit card debt: $68,807
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.05
    • Average income: $56,457
    • Average FICO® Score: 697
  46. Michigan

    • Average credit card debt: $3,975
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.19
    • Average income: $54,864
    • Average FICO® Score: 685
  47. Indiana

    • Average credit card debt: $3,959
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.09
    • Average income: $54,625
    • Average FICO® Score: 678
  48. Wisconsin

    • Average credit card debt: $3,920
    • Average number of credit cards: 3.17
    • Average income: $57,360
    • Average FICO® Score: 703
  49. Vermont

    • Average credit card debt: $3,843
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.79
    • Average income: $60,396
    • Average FICO® Score: 706
  50. Kentucky

    • Average credit card debt: $3,826
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.99
    • Average income: $49,259
    • Average FICO® Score: 667
  51. Mississippi

    • Average credit card debt: $3,724
    • Average number of credit cards: 2.70
    • Average income: $44,128
    • Average FICO® Score: 644

Higher Income Doesn't Mean Lower Debt

The highest earners on our list did not necessarily achieve the lowest debt. Washington, D.C., and the states in which millennials carry the highest credit card balances also boast some of the highest average incomes.

However, the numbers don't suggest millennials need to clear out their credit card balances every month to stay on track with their credit scores. Despite higher balances for higher earners, millennials with the greatest credit card debt also reported impressive credit scores. States that ranked high for millennial debt reported credit scores near or above the 700 mark, a score which can open up better interest rates, loan opportunities and more.

More Credit Cards Correlate to Higher Credit Scores

Millennials with higher credit scores tended to have more credit cards on average, regardless of debt, according to the data. In fact, every state but South Dakota with an average FICO® Score at or above 700 reported more than three credit cards per millennial consumer.

This isn't to say filling your wallet with cards leads to better credit scores: Several states with larger card collections had FICO® Scores below the national average for millennials. However, when used strategically for rewards, balance transfers and financing, credit card accounts can help you better handle your expenses. The addition of on-time payments to your credit reports can even lead to higher credit scores.

What Matters for Millennials: Financial Literacy

When it comes to money, some millennials may still have a lot to learn: Just 16% of millennials qualified as being "financially literate" in 2018, according to research by the TIAA Institute. No matter a millennial's debt, credit score, education level or income, learning how to manage money may be this generation's key to navigating today's tumultuous economic landscape.

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