Baby Boomers’ Auto Debt Ranks High Among Generations

Baby Boomers’ Auto Debt Ranks High Among Generations article image.

Baby boomers carry the second-highest auto loan debt of any generation. Members of this age group have an average auto loan balance of $18,759, according to Experian data from the second quarter (Q2) of 2019.

But while baby boomers—consumers between ages 55 and 73—carry higher auto debt than most other generations, their balances are still lower than the national average. In Q2 2019, the average national auto balance was $19,231—2% more than that of members of the baby boomer generation.

As part of a larger ongoing review of auto loan trends, Experian analyzed consumer credit data from Q2 2019 to find out how baby boomers' auto loan debt and credit compare with their peers. Read on for our insights and analysis.

Baby Boomers Carry Second-Highest Average Auto Debt

Compared with other generations, baby boomers across the U.S. followed only Generation X—who carried an average balance of $21,570—in average auto loan balances. Baby boomer balances were slightly higher than those of millennials and significantly more than the balances held by members of Generation Z and the silent generation.

Average Auto Loan Debt by Generation
GenerationAverage FICO® Score Average Auto Debt
Q2 2018
Average Auto Debt
Q2 2019
Year-Over-Year Change
Generation Z667$13,601$14,272+5%
Generation X688$21,154$21,570+2%
Baby Boomers731$18,713$18,759+0.24%
Silent Generation756$14,647$14,498-1%

*Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Baby Boomer Auto Debt Sees Slight Increase

Between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019, baby boomers' auto loan balances increased just slightly. While only the silent generation experienced a decrease in average auto loan balances during this period, baby boomers' balances grew less than a quarter of a percent.

Since 2012, however, baby boomers have seen their auto loan debt increase by 16%—which puts them in the middle of the road among generations, according to Experian data. That 16% increase brought baby boomer auto loan balances from an average of $16,118 to $18,759 over the seven-year period.

Baby Boomers in Texas Have Highest Auto Loan Balances

Texas carries the second-highest auto debt across all generations, so it's no surprise that the state was also home to the baby boomers who owed the most on their vehicle loans. Baby boomers in Texas carried an average balance of $23,707 in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. Texas was followed by New Mexico, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

States With the Highest Average Baby Boomer Auto Loan Debt
StateAverage FICO® ScoreAverage Auto Debt
Q2 2019
Average Total Debt
Q2 2019
New Mexico718$22,901$82,927

*Source: Experian data from Q2 2019. Data is specific to baby boomer debt and credit.

Baby Boomers in Michigan Have Lowest Average Auto Debt

Baby boomers in Michigan carried an average auto balance of $14,496 in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. That's 23% lower than the national average for baby boomers and 25% lower than the average across the nation. Michigan was followed by Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey in lowest baby boomer auto debt.

States With the Lowest Average Baby Boomer Auto Loan Debt
StateAverage FICO® ScoreAverage Auto Debt
Q2 2019
Average Total Debt
Q2 2019
Rhode Island742$14,816$99,492
New Jersey738$15,623$109,391

*Source: Experian data from Q2 2019. Data is specific to baby boomer debt and credit.

Growth of Baby Boomer Debt Slowing Across Most Credit Products

Baby boomers' auto debt burden is in line with their general debt patterns, as the generation carries the second-highest overall debt compared with other age groups. That said, as the group becomes older, growth in their overall debt is beginning to slow. Across nearly every type of debt—except student loans—baby boomer balances are growing at negligible rates. And when it comes to their personal loan balances and amount owed on home equity lines of credit, baby boomer debt is actually declining. In all, baby boomers' average total debt balances have decreased in the past year—from $98,991 in Q2 2018 to $96,984 in Q2 2019.

Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.