Citizens Advice: Debt among young adults is soaring

Lauren Fedor
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Last year, young people had an average unsecured debt of £12,215 (Source: Getty)

Young adults are having more money problems than ever before, according to a new report out today from Citizens Advice.

The charity says that the number of people between the ages of 17 and 24 asking for advice on debt issues has risen by more than 20 per cent in the last year – and their average unsecured debt is more than three times what it was before the financial crisis.

Last year, young people had an average unsecured debt of £12,215, compared to £3,988 between 2006 and 2008.

Citizens Advice blames unsecured borrowing schemes for "trapping a new generation in problem debt", saying that as well as recording an increase in the volume of debt, they have also seen changes in the types of loans young adults are taking out.

The charity says that 45 per cent of the debt rise is attributed to student loans, but the bulk of the increase has primarily been driven by so-called formal loans, like those from banks and payday lenders, as well as informal borrowing from friends and family.

To make matters worse, Citizens Advice found that young people have an average debt-to-income ratio of nearly 70 per cent, almost double 34 per cent for 25 to 29-year-olds and 11 per cent for 60-64 year olds.

Commenting on the report, Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said:

“A new generation of young people are starting out with stifling levels of debt."

She added: "Many young people already face challenges getting on the career and housing ladders – doing this while saddled with huge unsecured debts make it an uphill struggle."

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