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Millennials have less debt overall now than they did in 2003

Millennials have less debt overall now than they did in 2003

It's a familiar stereotype by now: College graduates so burdened by their mountain of debt that they're living in their parents' basement, unable to take the next steps into adulthood.

Except that it's not quite accurate.

It is true that student loan debt has ballooned since 2003. Back then, borrowers in their late twenties held a little more than $20,000 in student debt on average, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In 2015, those loans topped an average of $50,000.

But at the same time, young people lowered their holdings of every other major type of debt: credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and home equity loans. The result, according to the New York Fed, is that millennials have less debt overall now than they did in 2003.

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By Ylan Q. Mui with The Washington Post

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