19% of American households have student loans, up four points in three years

Some 19% of households had student loans in 2010, up from 15% just three years earlier, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center released Wednesday.

Student debt has exploded in recent years as more people attend college, more turn to debt to finance it, and more take out bigger loans while in school, said Richard Fry, a senior economist at Pew who authored the report. This is bucking the trend of Americans shedding debt during the Great Recession and its aftermath.