Places With the Most Student Loan Debt in 2020

 January 29, 2021
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Data shows that 45 million Americans carry $1.64 trillion in federal and private student loan debt. That’s the second-biggest debt burden in the country, following mortgages. And yet, these loans aren’t distributed equally, and where you live can factor into your repayment.

Borrowers include not just college graduates, but also people who didn’t complete their educations, graduate students, certain vocational trainees and the parents of undergraduates. Unlike most other forms of debt, student loan debt cannot usually be discharged through bankruptcy, although some can be forgiven through various programs.

These student loan burdens can vary greatly across the nation — and not always for the obvious reasons. For example, someone who dropped out of college after two years with debt or who lives in a community with lower earnings may have a much harder time paying that off than someone who completed their degree with double the debt.

There are also situations where the state tax burden might make repayment easier, or where there are programs to help with your student loans. Sometimes moving to a new location can help you retire your debt a little earlier — check out this guide for more details.

As for which areas of the country have the toughest time, our analysts crunched the numbers from over 300,000 anonymized My LendingTree user credit reports of student loan debtors in America’s 100 largest metros. They used this information to determine the median student loan burden, as well as the median monthly payments of those who have active monthly bills. The reports are from February 2020, immediately prior to the destabilization of the coronavirus crisis and passage of the CARES act and includes both federal and private loans.

Have a look at this table below to see where your home lands on the debt rankings, and also review our post of similar figures computed as averages and more relevant to the federal loans that are the subject of the CARES act.