Student loan debt by year

Student loan debt by year

Student Loan Debt Statistics by Year

Top student loan debt by year statistics

  • The amount Americans owe in student loan debt has tripled from 2007 to 2022
  • The average student loan debt per borrower has increased from $21,071 in 2017 to $40,000 in 2022
  • There are 16 million more people with student loan debt in 2022 than there was in 2007
  • Even adjusted for inflation, the average student loan debt at graduation is now more than 4 times what it was in 1970
  • Since 1970, avg. student loan debt at graduation has multiplied by 30 while the average starting salary has multiplied by 5.6
  • In 1970, the average student loan debt was 10.8% of the average starting salary of a graduate
  • By 2022, the average student loan debt was 54.6% of the average starting salary of a graduate

Total student loan debt by year

  • The total student loan debt in the USA is $1.76 billion
  • This has tripled since 2007 from $590 billion to $1.76 trillion
  • The debt has increased by 53.04% over the past 10 years
YearStudent loan debt ($ trillion)
20070.59
20080.68
20090.77
20100.86
20110.96
20121.05
20131.15
20141.24
20151.32
20161.41
20171.49
20181.57
20191.64
20201.69
20211.73
20221.76

Average student loan debt per year

  • In 2007, the average student loan debt per borrower was $21,071
  • By 2022, this had almost doubled to $40,000 – an increase of 89.8%
  • Although the average student loan debt per borrower declined from 2021 to 2022
YearAvg. debt per borrower ($ Thousand)
2007$21,071
2008$22,667
2009$24,063
2010$25,294
2011$25,946
2012$27,632
2013$28,750
2014$30,244
2015$31,429
2016$33,571
2017$34,651
2018$36,512
2019$38,140
2020$39,302
2021$40,233
2022$40,000

Number of borrowers per year

The total number of borrowers per year fluctuates as new people take out student loans and a number of people pay them off completely – dropping out of the pool.

Total number of borrowers per year

  • In 2007, there were a total of 28 million Americans with federal student loan debt
  • In 2022, this number had increased to 44 million borrowers – an increase of 57.14%
  • Although, over the last decade the number has somewhat leveled off with only a 10% increase in the number of borrowers from 2013 to 2022
YearNo. of borrowers (million)
200728
200830
200932
201034
201137
201238
201340
201441
201542
201642
201743
201843
201943
202043
202143
202244

Number of new borrowers per year

  • There are more than twice as many people who take out student loans each year than there were in 1995
  • Since 1995, the number of new borrowers per year has increased from 4.2 million to 8.6 million
  • This is an increase of 105%
  • However, the number of borrowers has come down from a peak of 11.2 million in 2011
YearNo. of new borrowers (million)
19954.2
19964.5
19974.8
19984.9
19994.9
20005
20015.3
20025.7
20036.3
20046.9
20057.3
20067.4
20077.6
20088.2
20099.7
201010.4
201111.2
201210.6
201310.1
20149.8
20159.2
20168.9
20178.6

Average debt at graduation adjusted for inflation

  • Even adjusted for inflation, the average student loan debt at graduation is now more than 4 times what it was in 1970
  • The student debt crisis began to show it’s face in  the early 90s where the average debt at graduation jumped from $14k to $22k over the first half of the decade
  • In 2012, the average student graduated with the equivalent of $34,398 worth of debt – the largest amount at any point on record
  • Since then, there has been a slight decrease in the average student loan debt at graduation
  • As of 2021, the average student graduates with $31,100 worth of student loan debt
Graduation YearAdjusted for inflation
1970$7,458
1975$5,060
1980$12,831
1985$13,052
1990$14,061
1995$22,302
1996$21,930
1997$22,966
1998$24,074
1999$25,126
2000$27,240
2001$25,519
2002$28,305
2003$23,623
2004$26,483
2005$27,600
2006$35,777
2007$36,765
2008$28,892
2009$28,980
2010$29,766
2011$30,107
2012$34,398
2013$33,524
2014$32,375
2015$32,092
2016$31,948
2017$31,515
2018$31,244
2019$30,975
2020$31,500
2021$31,100

Debt to income ratio of new graduates

  • Since 1970, the average debt at graduation has multiplied by 30
  • In the same time, the average starting salary for a graduate has multiplied by 5.6
  • In 1970, the average debt of a student graduating college was 10.8% of their average starting salary
  • In 2021, the average student loan debt at graduation was 54.6% of the average starting salary for a new graduate
  • In 2012, debt as a percentage of starting salary peaked at 66.4%
Graduation YearDebt at Graduation Average Starting SalaryDebt to income
1970$1,070$9,95110.8%
1975$1,000$12,0958.3%
1980$3,900$18,55316.1%
1985$5,200$24,28921.4%
1990$6,760$27,25624.8%
1995$12,600$29,27643.0%
1996$12,750$30,72841.5%
1997$13,670$32,04742.7%
1998$14,590$34,47142.3%
1999$15,510$35,59543.6%
2000$17,350$39,82443.6%
2001$16,900$42,55739.7%
2002$18,870$40,16247.0%
2003$16,070$39,29640.9%
2004$18,650$39,96046.7%
2005$20,000$42,08147.5%
2006$26,900$43,32162.1%
2007$28,500$45,72562.3%
2008$23,300$49,22447.3%
2009$23,000$48,63347.3%
2010$24,200$48,28850.1%
2011$25,300$51,17149.4%
2012$29,400$44,25966.4%
2013$28,900$45,32763.8%
2014$28,650$48,12759.5%
2015$28,400$50,21956.6%
2016$28,525$50,35956.6%
2017$28,650$50,51656.7%
2018$29,200$50,94457.3%
2019$29,500$53,88954.7%
2020$30,000$55,26054.3%
2021$31,100$56,91854.6%