Generation Z and Millennial Debt-Holders Continues to Rise

Last Update: September 7, 2021 Financial News

According to a recent study by TransUnion, Generation Z debt-holders – adults born after 1995 – saw a significant year-over-year increase in the second quarter of 2019. The data shows that nearly 14 million Gen Z borrowers carry some form of debt, a 29% increase year-over-year.

Generation Z

The number of borrowers carrying automotive debt increased by 42%, or 4.376 million. For credit cards, the number of borrowers increased by 41%, or 7.746 million. Mortgage holders more than doubled year-over-year, increasing 112% to 319,000. Personal loans also saw a substantial uptick, with the number of borrowers increasing 45% to 746,000.

The results were driven by eligible Gen Z borrowers entering the marketplace over the last year. Qualified borrowers increased from 4.5 million, and year-over-year now, the total number is 31.5 million. Over the next three years, researchers expect another 13 million Gen Z borrowers to become eligible for credit.

Credit cards remain the most desired type of debt. Nearly 55% of eligible Gen Z borrowers carry a balance. However, they only make up 5.2% of the overall credit card market. Auto loans rank second at 5.1% of the overall market, while personal loans rank third at 3.8%. Conversely – and despite showing the largest year-over-year percentage increase – mortgages remain the least attractive form of debt for Gen Z, as they represent only 0.5% of the overall market.

Matt Komos, vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion, said, “Both the newest and oldest members of the credit-eligible Gen Z generation are beginning to enter the credit market for the very first time. The rapid growth in Gen Z credit activity occurs, although many of these individuals have grown up during the Great Recession. Though the recession itself lasted less than two years, its impact was felt for several years afterward. As we see more members of this group come of age, we naturally expect continued growth in credit activity by Gen Z, which we will monitor closely to compare to the behaviors of previous generations.”


For Millennials, the numbers trended in the same direction. Labeled as adults born between 1981 and 1996, millennial mortgage holders increased 12% year-over-year to 14.37 million. Credit cardholders increased by 5%, or 38.29 million. Personal loan holders increased 14% to 5.61 million, and auto loan holders increased 4% to 26.42 million.

Other Generations

For Generation X – adults born between 1965 and 1980 – auto loan holders increased 1% to 26.02 million. Personal loan holders increased 10%, or 6.37 million. Credit cardholders increased by 3%, or 38.27 million, while mortgage holders remained flat year-over-year.

For Baby Boomers – adults born between 1944 and 1964 – mortgage holders decreased 4% to 25.34 million, and auto loan holders fell 2% to 24.85 million. Bucking the trend, personal loan holders increased 5% to 5.79 million, while credit card holders remained flat year-over-year.

For the Silent Generation – adults born between 1925 and 1943 – the board’s trends were consistent. Mortgage holders decreased 9% to 4.5 million, while auto loan holders decreased 9% to 4.35 million. Personal loan holders decreased 4% to 1.03 million, and credit cardholders fell 6% to 15.84 million.



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