Go west, young grad—and, preferably, to Utah.
That’s the takeaway from a new report from WalletHub, which evaluated local economic strength and earnings potential to rank the 50 states (and D.C.) by their student debt burdens.
Utah took the number-one spot, as the state where college graduates have the best chances of paying off their loans with ease. Wyoming came in second, followed by North Dakota, Washington and Nebraska.
WalletHub based the rankings on seven key factors, including a state’s unemployment rate for Millennials; debt as a percentage of income adjusted by cost of living; and the percentage of student-loan borrowers over the age of 50.
At the bottom of the heap, the states that ranked poorly for student debt were Georgia, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Mississippi, which took 51st place overall. Wallethub calculated that Mississippi had three times the number of student-loan borrowers in past-due or default status as Vermont, the state with the lowest percentage of such borrowers.
New York was listed at number 45, thanks in part to its high unemployment among Millennials and high costs of living, while D.C. was at 41.
With the nation’s student debt at a staggering $1.2 trillion—and ticking up $3,000 per second—the burden of debt plays an increasing role in life decisions for many Millennials. And it’s become a popular topic for researchers.
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A separate survey from Bankrate.com found 45 percent of Americans with student loans have delayed a milestone event like buying a home or getting married because of their debt—and the number jumps to 56% within the 18-to-29 demo.
These recent graduates were also most likely to say that they didn’t receive enough information on the risks of carrying student loan debt before taking it on. The only category in which they’re on track with other age groups is socking away for their future retirements.
While those 18 to 29 were found most likely to put off major life events, it’s the next group—those from 30 to 49—that included the highest percentage of college grads still chipping away at their student loans.
Feeling the burden of your own debt? Start your journey to financial freedom with a crash course in paying off student loans.