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Baby Boomers Carry the Highest Personal Loan Debt

Baby boomers hold the highest average personal loan balance of any generation—but it's a figure that's on the decline. In the second quarter (Q2) of 2019, boomers—people 55 to 73 years old—carried an average personal loan balance of $19,253, according to Experian data.

That's down 1% from the same time last year, but still remains the highest average personal loan balance held by any generation.

As part of our ongoing look at personal loans, Experian analyzed consumer credit data from Q2 2019 to see how baby boomers are borrowing and how their habits compare with other generations. Read on for our insights and analysis.

Baby Boomer Personal Loan Debt 18% Higher Than National Average

When it comes to total average debt, baby boomers carry one of the highest overall burdens of any generation. But when broken out by types of debt, baby boomers only top the chart when it comes to personal loans.

In Q2 2019, the generation carried an average personal loan balance of $19,253, according to Experian data. That's 18% more than the national average of $16,259 carried across all generations. It's also more than three times the average debt amount carried by Generation Z, the youngest generation included and also the group of consumers who hold the least personal loan debt.

Average Personal Loan Debt by Generation
GenerationAverage FICO® Score* Average Personal Loan Debt
Q2 2018
Average Personal Loan Debt
Q2 2019
Year-Over-Year Change
Generation Z667$4,026$4,526+12%
Millennials668$11,202$11,819+5%
Generation X688$16,979$17,175+1%
Baby Boomers731$19,401$19,253-1%
Silent Generation756$17,720$17,067 -4%

*Source: Experian data

Top Baby Boomer Personal Loan Balances Are in American Northwest

Across the country, the states with the highest average personal loan debt all were concentrated in the American Northwest. This was also true when breaking out balances by generation—the states with the highest personal loan balances across every age group except Generation Z were located in the northwest corner of the country.

Baby Boomer Personal Loan Debt in Washington Double the National Average

Baby boomers in Washington have more personal loan debt, on average, than those in any other state, carrying an average balance of $35,145 in Q2 2019.

States With the Highest Average Baby Boomer Personal Loan Debt
StateAverage FICO® ScoreAverage Personal Loan Debt
Q2 2019
Difference From National Average (All Generations)
Washington750$35,145+116%
Oregon747$33,170+104%
North Dakota759$32,941+103%
South Dakota757$32,009+97%
Montana749$28,770+77%

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

Baby Boomers in Puerto Rico Hold Lowest Average Personal Loan Balances

Baby boomers in Puerto Rico have the lowest personal loan balances, carrying an average of $10,158 in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. While this balance is still twice the national average held by Generation Z, it's 38% less than the national average across all generations.

Puerto Rico was followed by Washington, D.C. (which is home to the highest average student loan and mortgage balances), Hawaii, Kentucky and Alabama as the states with the lowest baby boomer personal loan debt.

States With the Lowest Average Baby Boomer Personal Loan Debt
StateAverage FICO® ScoreAverage Personal Loan Debt
Q2 2019
Difference From National Average (All Generations)
Puerto Rico713$10,158-38%
Washington, D.C. 706$12,143-25%
Hawaii748$13,442-17%
Kentucky723$14,669-10%
Alabama711$14,848-9%

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

The trend is clear when it comes to baby boomers: The generation's debt is on the decline. Baby boomers seem to be quickly moving to a phase of life where their new debt is slowing and overall balances are growing smaller. This can be seen across auto loans, credit cards and mortgage debt.


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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.

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