Nearly one-in-five American households now have student loan debt, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center. Overall, 19 percent of households carried some amount of student debt in 2010, up from just 15 percent in 2007. Borrowers on average owed more than $26,000, double what they owed in 1995.
Student loan debt has the largest impact on poor and middle class Americans, who devote large chunks of their household incomes to student debt. The poorest fifth, as this chart from CNNMoney shows, have student debt that amounts to roughly a quarter of their household income while the share is much lower for wealthier Americans: