Mapping Student Debt

Published on Author Bethany Sims

Want to see how your student debt compares to your neighbors? The Mapping Student Debt project, created by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth with data made possible by Generation Progress and Higher Ed, Not Debt, has created a mesmerizing tool to measure student debt by zip code.

The economic differences between zip codes are shown in stark contrast with this interactive map which measures median income, average student loan balance, and delinquency for the entire county. Taking a closer look at Washington DC, we can see that the areas with the lowest income, which also have the lowest amount of student debt, have the highest delinquency rates. High student debt doesn’t mean high delinquency; in fact, it usually means the opposite. Zip codes in the DC area with student loan debt labeled as “astronomical” have very low delinquency rates. Perhaps not surprising is the inverse relationship between the amount of debt and the rate of default on student loans. Generally, the higher the student debt amount the higher the level of education achieved, which increases the probability that the borrower will be able to pay back the debt after graduation.


Image Source, Mapping Student Debt

Looking at the recent state of credit from Experian, another interesting correlation is the higher the credit scores of an area, the lower the delinquency. This map is reminder of the economic issues that student debt raises.

To view the map and the read more on the research methodology, click here.

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