Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right California icon-chevron-right Los Angeles icon-chevron-right This map of student loan debt says a lot about economic inequality in LA
News / City Life

This map of student loan debt says a lot about economic inequality in LA

Student Debt Average
Courtesy: Washington Center for Equitable Growth

No one who's gone to college in, say, the past decade needs to be told how expensive higher education has become (but just for kicks, a moderate cost for public in-state college is $24,061, and for private college, $47,831, according to College Board). At the risk of not getting the best opportunity possible, many students take on hoards of loans which, upon graduating, become debt. Americans owe a total of over $1.1 trillion in student debt, according to a recent paper published by the Brookings Institution.

Now, an interactive map put out by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth illustrates the relationship between three factors—average loan balance, median income and payment delinquency—to show how borrowing money effects the country's economic landscape. Astronomically high student loan debt and high median income go hand in hand, but people in those neighborhoods are also able to pay off their loans on time. In lower income neighborhoods, even though people often take on less debt, they're also more likely to miss payments.

In LA specifically, the West Side, including Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, tend to take on the most debt, but also tend to have higher income. Meanwhile, places like Vernon and Huntington Park are low income areas with residents who are crippled by debt. 90089, home of USC's campus, is particularly interesting in that is has an extremely low median income ($11,750), but an extremely high loan balance and moderately high delinquency. 90095, home to UCLA, tell a different story—astronomical loan balance, but extremely low delinquency.

In general, not only are students graduating with more debt than ever, but especially for those who live in low income areas, they aren't able to pay back what they borrow. It's a sobering image for anyone on a college campus, or for University workers who have to decide how students should pay for their education.

This is the Average Loan Balance Map:



Courtesy: Washington Center for Equitable Growth





This one shows Median Income:


Courtesy: Washington Center for Equitable Growth





And this one, Payment Delinquency:


Courtesy: Washington Center for Equitable Growth





Try out the interactive map yourself, or don't, and save yourself some depressing insight into how money and education are distributed.




Why is it assumed that everyone gets to go to college?  Not everyone gets to go to Tahiti, or wear Prada shoes, or have 401K's, or make $200,000, or live in Manhattan, or extend their education.  Your graphs simply indicate that people are taking out loans they can't pay for educations they can't afford.  No different than the housing crisis.