Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Delaware have some of the highest concentrations of borrowers with six-figure student loan debt. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Borrowers with six-figure student loan debt are seeking work in the nation’s capital and eastern states like Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, New York, Florida and Delaware.

That’s according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid, which show Illinois, Mississippi and California also have elevated concentrations of borrowers who owe $100,000 or more.

Although they still represent just a small proportion of student loan borrowers in most states, more than 2.62 million federal student loan borrowers owe more than $100,000. Collectively, they owe $458.5 billion, or about one-third (32.6 percent) of America’s cumulative $1.41 trillion federal student loan debt.

Average student loan debt balances among six-figure borrowers are also highest in Washington, D.C. ($189,157), followed by California ($189,110), Utah ($186,029) and New York ($182,709), and exceeded $180,000 in Arizona, Vermont, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Nevada.

Although it’s not always the case, borrowers who owe more than $100,000 in student loan debt typically went to medical school, law school, or another graduate school. They tend to have not only big student loan debt, but salaries to match, which can make them good candidates for refinancing their loans at lower interest rates.

So it makes sense that the states with the highest concentrations of borrowers with six-figure student loan debt are also attractive job markets for professionals with graduate school degrees.

The 10 states with the highest percentage of six-figure student loan borrowers:

  • Washington, D.C. (14.7 percent)
  • Maryland (9.1 percent)
  • Georgia (8.2 percent)
  • Virginia (7.3 percent)
  • New York (7.2 percent)
  • Illinois (7.1 percent)
  • Florida (7.0 percent)
  • Mississippi (6.9 percent)
  • Delaware (6.9 percent)
  • California (6.9 percent)

Many states where borrowers with six-figure student loan debt are underrepresented are agricultural, and professionals with graduate degrees may make up a smaller proportion of the workforce.

States with lowest percentage of six-figure student loan borrowers:

  • North Dakota (3.6 percent)
  • Iowa (4.0 percent)
  • South Dakota (4.2 percent)
  • Idaho (4.4 percent)
  • Wisconsin (4.5 percent)
  • West Virginia (4.6 percent)
  • Indiana (4.6 percent)
  • Kentucky 4.6 percent)
  • Nebraska (4.7 percent)
  • Wyoming (4.7 percent)
  • Oklahoma (4.7 percent)

As would be expected, the most populous states are most likely to have the greatest raw number of six-figure student loan borrowers, and cumulative six-figure student loan debt.

States with the greatest number of six-figure student loan borrowers

  • California (256,200)
  • New York (168,300)
  • Texas (168,000)
  • Florida (162,800)
  • Georgia (121,000)
  • Illinois (110,400)
  • Pennsylvania (100,100)
  • Ohio (89,200)
  • Michigan (78,600)
  • North Carolina (76,400)

States with the greatest total six-figure student loan debt

  • California ($48.4B)
  • New York ($30.7B)
  • Florida ($29.5B)
  • Texas ($28.3B)
  • Georgia ($20.9B)
  • Illinois ($19.8B)
  • Pennsylvania ($17.6B)
  • Ohio ($15.1B)
  • Michigan ($13.9B)
  • North Carolina ($12.9B)

States with highest six-figure borrower balances

  • Washington, D.C. ($189,157)
  • California ($189,110)
  • Utah ($186,029)
  • New York ($182,709)
  • Arizona ($182,255)
  • Vermont ($181,633)
  • Florida ($181,327)
  • New Jersey ($181,287)
  • Massachusetts ($181,225)
  • Rhode Island ($180,882)

Matt Carter is the editor of Credible News, which provides information that consumers need to make decisions about student loans and personal finance. We welcome comments and tips. Email: mcarter@credible.com