Visualizing U.S. Household Debt, by Generation
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Visualizing U.S. Household Debt, by Generation

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The Generational Power Index
The Generational Power Index
Introducing our new index, which ranks U.S. generations on their economic, political, and cultural influence.

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U.S. household debt by generation

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The Briefing

  • Generation X is the most indebted generation on average, with $140,643 of household debt
  • Younger generations are witnessing their debts growing at a greater pace relative to older Americans

Visualizing U.S. Household Debt, by Generation

The year 2020 could be categorized as one where debt grew across the board. In the U.S., every generation except the Silent Generation saw their debts rise in the last year.

But how much debt does each generational household owe?

Generation20192020Growth (%)
Generation Z (18-24)$9,593$16,04367.2%
Millennials (25-40)$78,396$87,44811.5%
Generation X (41-56)$135,841$140,6433.5%
Baby Boomers (57-75)$96,984$97,2900.3%
Silent Generation (76+)$43,255$41,281-4.6%

Gen X are the most indebted Americans followed by the Baby Boomers. The breakdown of debt by age group suggests the typical American’s debts grow with adulthood to a certain age, at which point it begins to taper off.

Download the Generational Power Report (.pdf)

The Generational Power Index

Digging Deeper

The types of debt vary in significance for each generation. For instance, the leading source of debt for Gen Z and Millennials are student loans (20%) and credit card bills (25%), respectively. Mortgages on the other hand, are the leading source of debt for Gen X (30%) and Baby Boomers (28%).

Collectively, American households have a debt pile of $14.5 trillion, with mortgages representing the majority, at 70%.

Here’s how home mortgages by generation breaks down.

GenerationPortion of Mortgage Debt
Silent Generation4.8%
Baby Boomers29.0%
Generation X42.0%
Millennials24.2%
Generation Z-

Given mortgages represent the largest slice and that Gen X is the most indebted household, it stands to reason that at 42%, Gen X carries the most mortgage debt out of any generation.

Editor’s note: It should be mentioned that the Federal Reserve is yet to include Gen Z in some of their data.

Zooming Out

Though debts are rising for most U.S. households, they still pale in comparison to other countries. Here’s how household U.S. debt ranks on the international stage.

Country / TerritoryHousehold Debt to GDP (September 2020)
🇨🇭 Switzerland131%
🇦🇺 Australia122%
🇳🇴 Norway112%
🇩🇰 Denmark112%
🇨🇦 Canada110%
🇳🇱 Netherlands104%
🇰🇷 South Korea101%
🇳🇿 New Zealand95%
🇸🇪 Sweden93%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom89%
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR88%
🇺🇸 U.S.78%

The U.S. ranks 12th in global household debt to GDP rankings.

In addition to being the largest economy by GDP, America’s GDP per capita remains one of the highest out of major countries, suggesting these high debts by generation are in part offset by high incomes.

Looking Ahead

Increasing debts have been manageable due to a low interest rate environment. This has persisted for well over a decade, and is expected to remain the case for the near future.

Whether this can hold steady in the long run is still largely unknown.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Federal Reserve, Experian
Notes: Household debt to GDP data is as of September 2020

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Ranked: The Top Online Music Services in the U.S. by Monthly Users

This graphic shows the percentage of Americans that are monthly music listeners for each service. Which online music service is most popular?

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Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

The Briefing

  • Two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. used YouTube at least once per month
  • 64% of music listeners use multiple music services per month

The Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

The music streaming industry is characterized by fierce competition, with many companies vying for market share.

Companies are competing on multiple fronts, from price and features to advertising and exclusive content, making it a challenging market for companies to succeed in.

YouTube (the standard offering and YouTube Music) has the highest amount of users, attracting around two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. during a given month. This is largely due to the YouTube’s massive reach and extensive catalog of music.

Here’s a full rundown of the top music streaming services in the U.S. by monthly listeners:

RankMusic Service% of U.S. Music Listeners Who Use Monthly
#1YouTube61%
#2TSpotify35%
#2TAmazon Music 35%
#4Pandora23%
#5SiriusXM21%
#6Apple Music19%
#7iHeartRadio15%
#8SoundCloud10%
#9Audacity6%
#10TTuneIn5%
#10TDeezer5%
#10TNapster5%
#10TTidal5%

Two companies are in the running for second place: Spotify and Amazon Music.

Spotify leads in one important metric: number of paid users. Meanwhile, Amazon Music has a large user base since the service is bundled into Prime—however, recent changes mean that without a premium subscription, shuffled playback is the primary option. Time will tell what impact those changes will have on the service’s market share.

Prices for premium music services are beginning to creep upward. Apple Music and Amazon Music raised their prices, and it’s rumored that Spotify will not be far behind. This move would be significant because, in the U.S., Spotify hasn’t raised its prices in over a decade.

Rising prices and more aggressive promotion of premium subscriptions could be a signal that music streaming services are transitioning from a focus on capturing market share to monetizing existing users.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Activate Technology and Media Outlook 2023 by Activate Consulting

Data note: “Music services” include free and paid services used for listening to music through any format excluding terrestrial radio. “Music listeners” are defined as adults aged 18+ who spend any time listening to music.

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