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The percentage of Bay Area residents borrowing to pay for a higher education rose dramatically between 2003 and 2018.

In that 15-year period, the percentage nearly doubled from 6.2 percent to 12.2 percent regionwide, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

County by county, the increase was the highest in Contra Costa County, where the percentage jumped by 149.2 percent. The increase in Solano County was not far behind at 147.8 percent.

Here’s how the counties rank by the percentage increase in student loan debt.1. Contra Costa County — 149.2%2. Solano County — 147.8%3. Napa County — 121.7%4. Marin County — 100.9%5. Santa Clara County — 98.1%6. Alameda County — 96%7. Sonoma County — 91%8. San Mateo County — 81.7%9. San Francisco — 52.6%[bar color=”Accent-Color” title=”1. Contra Costa County” percent=”149.2″][bar color=”Extra-Color-1″ title=”2. Solano County” percent=”147.8″][bar color=”Accent-Color” title=”3. Napa County” percent=”121.7″][bar color=”Extra-Color-1″ title=”4. Marin County” percent=”100.9″][bar color=”Accent-Color” title=”5. Santa Clara County” percent=”98.1″][bar color=”Extra-Color-1″ title=”6. Alameda County” percent=”96″][bar color=”Accent-Color” title=”7. Sonoma County” percent=”91″][bar color=”Extra-Color-1″ title=”8. San Mateo County” percent=”81.7″][bar color=”Accent-Color” title=”9. San Francisco” percent=”52.6″]Neighborhoods with mostly black and Hispanic households, such as the Bayview, Hunters Point and Treasure Island, all in San Francisco, are suffering from the debt more than other neighborhoods, the report says. 

Seth Frotman, who was the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said, “Researchers are beginning to show how this debt fuels economic, gender and racial inequality, inhibits asset accumulation, accelerates wealth gaps and carves out a generational divide that, even in the best of circumstances, will take decades to erase.”

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco