Discussion Paper

Uneven Distribution of Household Debt by Gender, Race, and Education


Abstract: Household debt has risen markedly since 2013 and amounts to more than $15 trillion dollars. While the aggregate volume of household debt has been well-documented, literature on the gender, racial and education distribution of debt is lacking, largely because of an absence of adequate data that combine debt, demographic, and education information. In a three-part series beginning with this post, we seek to bridge this gap. In this first post, we focus on differences in debt holding behavior across race and gender. Specifically, we explore gender and racial disparities in different types of household debt and delinquencies—for auto, mortgage, credit card, and student loans—while distinguishing between students pursuing associate’s (AA) and bachelor’s (BA) degrees. In the second post in this series, we investigate gender and racial disparities in delinquencies across these various kinds of consumer debt. We close with a third post where we try to understand some of the mechanisms behind differences in debt and delinquencies across gender and race.

Keywords: inequality; CUNY; mortgage; student debt; auto debt; credit card debt;

JEL Classification: D14; Q12; R10;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Part of Series: Liberty Street Economics

Publication Date: 2021-11-17

Number: 20211117a