A UNO economist says he finds it very strange, as there now seem to be two classes of people. "We see the total number of people holding debt going down, but then the other group seems to be increasing their amount of debt," says Professor Dub Lane.
He says the best news from the report is that credit card debt has dropped dramatically over the past decade, as this report looks at 2000-2011. "It especially accelerated after the beginning of the recession in 2008," says Lane. "So we see a lot of people trying to get out of credit card debt. That's the worst kind of debt from an economist's point of view."
But those between 55 and 64 years old are holding a lot of mortgage debt, possibly because they own more second homes than the previous generation, or they're refinancing their home rather than paying off the mortgage says Lane.
The Census says 69% of Americans carry some form of debt now, declining from 74% in 2000, "At the same time, the median amount of household debt increased over this period from $50,971 to $70,000 (in 2011 constant dollars)."
Furthermore, people 65 and older were the only age group whose debt rose over the decade.
And it seems student loans are weighing on young people, as their unsecured debt loads are increasing.