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Student-loan debt is slowing the accumulation of wealth for younger Americans, who have managed to amass only one-seventh as much money as people with similar incomes and no student loans, according to a new report.

The analysis, by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, finds that households headed by college graduates who didn’t have to borrow for their educations have a median net worth of about $64,700, compared to $8,700 for households headed by college graduates with student debt.

“Young adults with student loan debt are starting out behind in building their nest eggs,” lead author Richard Fry said.

People with student loans also tend to owe relatively large amounts of money for car loans and credit cards, the study found. Their typical total indebtedness for mortgages, vehicles, credit cards, and student loans is $137,010—almost twice the $73,250 debt load of similar households with no student debt.

About 40 percent of all households headed by adults under 40 now have some level of student debt—the median amount of $13,000—the Pew study reported. That’s the highest proportion in history.

It’s also true that people with bachelor’s degrees make nearly twice as much as those without them. They have a typical household income of $57,941, nearly twice as much as the $32,528-a-year household income of people without bachelor’s degrees.

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Jon Marcus writes and edits stories about, and helps plan coverage of, higher education. A former magazine editor, he has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Wired, Medium.com...

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