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Millenials in P.R., Mississippi have lowest credit card debt, study shows

Millennials in Puerto Rico carried the least amount of credit card debt of any state, with an average balance of $2,906 per person, in the first quarter of 2019, according to a study conducted by credit reporting agency Experian.

Mississippi millennials had the second-lowest debt, with an average credit card balance of $3,887.

These balances were considerably lower than the states’ averages across all generations: Mississippians carried an average $5,030 in credit card debt, and Puerto Ricans had an average of $3,678 in credit card balances, according to the report.

“While many millennials struggling with credit may be looking for ways to pay off debt as balances rise, others continue to seek ways to finance purchases and build credit history through acquiring credit cards and seeking loans such as mortgages and auto loans,” the report showed. “Time will reveal how this generation prepares itself for the future.”

Younger generations are widely thought to be averse to credit — but that’s not necessarily true when it comes to credit cards.

Members of the millennial generation — people between ages 23 and 38 — increased their average credit card debt by 7% in the past year, according to recent data from Experian.

That’s the second-largest increase in credit card debt among all generations in the past year, and the spike could show that younger consumers are becoming more comfortable using plastic as a payment method.

As part of its larger look at credit card debt, and to see how millennials use credit cards, Experian reviewed credit data from the first quarter of 2019, comparing it with historical records to identify how the generation spent compared with its peers.

Millennials across the U.S. carried an average of $4,712 each in credit card debt in the first quarter of 2019, according to Experian data.

And while that’s less than the national average of $5,474, the tides might be changing, as millennials saw one of the largest increases in credit card debt in the past year.

Millennials weren’t the only generation to see a significant increase in their credit card balances in the past year. Generation Z — people between ages 18 and 22 — saw average credit card debt increase by 11% since Q1 2018, from $1,851 to $2,057, the highest of any generation. The only other generation to see an increase in credit card debt was Generation X, whose balances increased 3% from $7,781 to $8,023.

Older generations — baby boomers and the silent generation — both saw a 1% decline in credit card debt since Q1 2018.

“As younger millennials still may be in the early stages of their credit journey, it’s no surprise that credit card debt increased as these consumers aged,” the study showed.

“The youngest millennials, age 23, carried an average credit card balance of $2,288, while the oldest, age 38, carried an average balance of $6,675 in the first quarter of 2019,” the study concluded.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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