Here’s A List Of States With The Most Student Loan Debt And #1 Will Likely Be A Total Shock

Frustrated young woman sitting in front of laptop with hands on head going over student loan debt.

Student debt is crippling millions of Americans, and the collective debt keeps growing.

The facts about student loan debt are scary.

Student debt has more than doubled since 2008, and the amount of student debt in 2020 totaled nearly $1.6 trillion, more than twice the amount outstanding in 2008 ($600 billion). Student loan debt has grown faster than any other source of household debt. Student loan debt is also a major reason people can’t save for retirement.

And perhaps the saddest part of the story – many people feel the debt and student loans weren’t worth the decades of payoffs and college degrees obtained.

While millions of Americans are deep in student loan debt, some states are worse off than others. With student-loan debtors in mind, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 11 key measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities and compiled a list of the most student loan debt by state.

The result is a list of the states with the most student loan debt and names the states with the least amount of money owed. The state topping the list with the most student loan debt is quite surprising.

States with the Most Student Debt

1. West Virginia
2. New Hampshire
3. Pennsylvania
4. South Dakota
5. Mississippi
6. North Dakota
7. Delaware
8. Michigan
9. Wisconsin
10. Ohio

West Virginia topping the list is surprising. A person would assume that New York (#28), New Jersey (#17), or California (#49) or take the top spot since the cost of living is so much higher and putting money towards student loan debt would be more difficult.

California is actually on the list of the states with the least amount of student debt.

States with the Least Student Debt

42. Hawaii
43. Colorado
44. Alaska
45. Washington
46. Florida
47. New Mexico
48. Wyoming
49. California
50. District of Columbia
51. Utah

More facts about the most student loan debt by state from the WalletHub study:

  • Utah has the lowest average student debt, $17,935, which is 2.2 times lower than New Hampshire, the state with the highest at $39,410.
  • Utah has the lowest proportion of students with debt, 40.00 percent, which is 1.9 times lower than in New Hampshire and South Dakota, the states with the highest at 74.00 percent.
  • Massachusetts has the lowest share of student loans in past-due or default status, 3.63 percent, which is three times lower than in Hawaii, the state with the highest at 10.81 percent.
  • Idaho has the highest share of federal student loan borrowers enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, 22.98 percent, which is 1.5 times higher than in New Jersey, the state with the lowest at 14.85 percent.

To read the entire report, head over to WalletHub.

To learn more about ways to reduce debt, check out these helpful articles like what to do with unexpected money, tips for living frugally, or finding a passive income stream that’s truly passive.

Chris Illuminati

Chris Illuminati is the author of five books and has written about personal finance, wealth, debt management, and entrepreneurship for numerous outlets including Wise Bread, Grow or Die, and Bankrate.