Warning, if you have student loan debt and live in one of the 5 cities listed below, the following information may be triggering (just saying). LendingTree, a marketplace for student loans, gathered data from over 8 million users to determine the top U.S. cities where people hold the most student debt. It turns out, debtors are flocking to the South. Does this surprise you? Let us know. 

There could be any number of reasons for this phenomena, one being the cost of living is much lower in the South compared to the Northeast or the West Coast. Did someone say $1.00 for a dozen eggs? People Another factor could be public service loan forgiveness (PSLF). People are attracted to cities with plenty of government and nonprofit job opportunities, so they can qualify for PSLF down the road. 

Either way, we’re breaking down the top cities where people hold the most student loan debt. 

#1. Washington, D.C.

Coming in at number 1 is Washington, D.C., which is no surprise given the city is the political capitol of the U.S. (remember our friend PSLF). Of people living in Washington D.C., 25% have professional and graduate degrees. Keep in mind, only 13.1% of all people living in the U.S. have a professional degree. 

The median loan balance: $22,803. 

#2. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia is runner up. Almost 40% of people living in Atlanta have a bachelors degree, which is a little over the national number. 

The median loan balance: $22,232.

#3. Richmond, Virginia

In Richmond, Virginia, 13% of residents have a professional or graduate degree, placing Richmond right on par with the national average (13.1%). 

The median loan balance: $21,915.

#4. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina is kicking some educational butt. In this city 44% of residents have at least a four-year degree, and 16% of residents have a professional or graduate degree. 

The median loan balance: $21,357.

#5. Akron, Ohio

According to LendingTree, Akron, Ohio is a “manufacturing hot spot.” This city also attracts a disproportionate number of chemists, which makes sense when you learn Akron is home to both the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron.

The median loan balance: $21,037.