The Burden Of Debt

The Geography of Student Debt: Where You Live & What You Owe

2018’s States with the Most and Least Student Debt

New research from wallethub.com identifies debt-friendly states and the ways consumers are managing their college-loan repayment. Reprinted with permission. Visit here.

With college students preparing for the fall semester and 10.7 percent of all student loans 90+ days delinquent or in default as of Q1 2018, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s States with the Most and Least Student Debt.

To determine the states that are friendliest toward student-loan debtors, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 key metrics. The data set ranges from average student debt to unemployment rate among the population aged 25 to 34 to share of students with past-due loan balances.

Best vs. Worst

Utah has the lowest average student debt, $19,975, which is 1.8 times lower than in New Hampshire, the state with the highest at $36,367.

Utah has the lowest proportion of students with debt, 43 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in West Virginia, the state with the highest at 77 percent.

Massachusetts has the lowest share of student loans in past-due or default status, 7.44 percent, which is 2.3 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest at 16.84 percent.

Hawaii has the lowest share of student-loan borrowers aged 50 or older, 3.86 percent, which is 2.6 times lower than in Vermont, the state with the highest at 10.03 percent.

States with the Most Student DebtStates with the Least Student Debt
1South Dakota42Nevada
2West Virginia43Maryland
3Pennsylvania44Florida
4New Hampshire45Alaska
5Ohio46Arizona
6Mississippi47Washington
7Michigan48California
8Minnesota49Wyoming
9Iowa50Hawaii
10Indiana51Utah

 

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit here.

Full data sets for specific states and the District are also available upon request.

Excerpts from the WalletHub report ‘2018’s States with the Most and Least Student Debt’

“Location, location, location” is the most important phrase in real estate. But the mantra applies to education, too. Where you live doesn’t just affect the value of your property; it also reflects the worth of your college degree — the same degree that may have put you in debt. With 10.7 percent of all student-loan debts 90+ days delinquent or in default as of Q1 2018, graduates need to be selective with the places in which they choose to put their degrees to work. New York City, for instance, might have a high average salary for a certain profession, but the high cost of living could outweigh the gains.

Save for mortgages, student loans make up the largest component of household debt for Americans. And our collective debt keeps growing. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, total outstanding college-loan balances disclosed on credit reports stood at $1.41 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Where you live doesn’t just affect the value of your property; it also reflects the worth of your college degree — the same degree that may have put you in debt...

There is evidence that income potential rises and chances of joblessness decline with more schooling. But many graduates entering the labor market are learning the hard way that a college degree can’t guarantee financial security. Post-college success depends on numerous factors, including where a graduate lays down roots. Student-loan borrowers generally fare better in strong-economy states with low college-debt-to-income ratios.

With student-loan debtors in mind, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 11 key measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities. Our data set ranges from average student debt to unemployment rate among the population aged 25 to 34 to share of students with past-due loan balances. Read on for our findings, insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

Tip: If you’re considering borrowing money for college or are in danger of defaulting, we advise leveraging a Student Loan Calculator to determine an affordable monthly payment and payoff timeline.