New Student Loan Data Highlights Dallas Gen Xers' Precarious Spot

Student loans aren't just a millennial problem.
Student loans aren't just a millennial problem. zimmytws
Frequently, when we write about Dallas' lack of affordable apartments, stagnating median wage or unattainable mortgages, we're talking about those costs in reference to Dallas' quickest growing demographic — millennials. They're the generational cohort, roughly ages 23 to 38, that can't afford their student loans, can't buy a house and can't make rent, at least not in one of the core Dallas neighborhoods in which they want to live. 

New analysis from Student Loan Hero, a company that's specializing in helping those with student loans find ways to pay them off sooner, shows that Dallas members of Generation X (ages 39 to 54), the one that came before those pesky millennials, are still suffering the burden of thousands in unpaid student loans, years after leaving college.

Student Loan Hero looked at the anonymized credit reports of borrowers on My LendingTree, a website that matches borrowers with lenders willing to lend to someone with their credit profile. Specifically, they looked at those who had recently turned 40 and broke down the data in the reports about borrowers' student loans.

According to the analysis, the average 40-year-old with outstanding student loans in Dallas still owes about $48,825 on those loans. The median borrower in Dallas is carrying $29,974 in student debt. Those borrowers pay $207 a month to maintain their loans.

Those figures put Dallas squarely in the middle of the Texas pack. Average borrowers in San Antonio and Houston owe a little more than those in Dallas, while the median borrower in those cities owes a little less. 

Those big totals for 40-year-olds throughout the country come despite the fact that standard federal student loans have a 10-year term and many students graduate at 22, according to Student Loan Hero.

Just because Gen Xers are bad off in Dallas doesn't mean local millennials are off the hook. 

Earlier this year, the Observer reported on student loan research looking at millennial borrowers in Dallas. That research, done by Generation Progress, a progressive political group targeting those between 22 and 37, found that millennials in Dallas typically allot 6 percent of their paycheck toward their student loans. In some areas of the city, however, that number skewed as high as 18 percent, according to researchers.

“This is a new variable in people's kitchen-table budgets,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress. “Older generations never had to budget this side-by-side with their monthly bills.”
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young