Household Debt across the Life Course: An Analysis of the Late Baby Boomers

Rebecca Tippett, Duke University

Although indebtedness in the United States has increased dramatically over the past few decades, explicit explorations of household debt have been relatively absent from sociological work on stratification and the life cycle. Drawing from a conceptual model of household indebtedness that focuses on institutional context, social heterogeneity, and patterned disadvantage, this paper utilizes data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to examine the life course demography of debt of the Late Baby Boomers. That is, the way in which sociodemographic characteristics structure household indebtedness and how these effects change over time. Focusing on home-secured, vehicle-secured, and non-collateralized, non-revolving debt, the analysis examines the onset, duration, and debt burden experienced by households. Utilizing multilevel latent models, this paper explores whether there are distinctive trajectories of debt burdens across households (e.g. stably declining or chronically high) and examines predictors of membership in these trajectories.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 7