*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Oct 09, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
We wrote an article about the State of Credit last year and wanted to come back around to it to see how the state of credit has changed over the last few years. Have states improved or declined? Has the nation’s average score risen since 2011? Let’s find out!
To start, I would like to mention that Experian didn’t present their data state-wide. Instead, Experian published data from major cities in the United States. So the state averages that are presented below are based off the average of the credit scores from the major cities. Some states had more cities to average and others had only 1 or 2 cities, or even no data to average (stated as N/A).
The three reports that were assessed was the State of Credit from 2013, 2012, and 2011. VantageScore is the credit rating scale used to determine the average credit scores. You may notice a large difference in reported credit scores for 2013 compared to the other 2 years. 2011 and 2012 used one of VantageScore’s earlier models (ranging from 501-990), while 2013 used VantageScore 3.0 (300-850)
Highest and Lowest Performing States
|2013 Top 5||2012 Top 5||2011 Top 5|
|South Dakota-707||Idaho-777||South Dakota-778|
|Wisconsin-705||North Dakota-776||North Dakota-776|
|2013 Bottom 5||2012 Bottom 5||2011 Bottom 5|
|Louisiana & Nevada-656||Georgia-716||Texas-715|
|Alabama-661||South Carolina-725||South Carolina-724|
There's an interesting trend here that, well, kind of makes me happy since I'm from the Midwest. It seems that those living in the northern states manage their credit better than those in southern states. I would love to take a stab at why this may be, but as I got to thinking, a million different reasons come to mind such as:
- It's sunnier and warmer in the south, so consumers go out more and spend more than they probably should
- It's cold up north and no one wants to go outside so they stay in and save money
- Lending practices may vary
- Readily available credit resources may vary
- More people in the north carry cash, proving a common theory that those who carry cash are more connected to their purchases and less likely to overspend
- Financial education may be more affluent in the north
- People up north are known as being "stuffy," whereas people down south are thought to be more free-spirited
Largest Adjustments in Credit Scores
We weren’t able to use the following states in any of the below scenarios because data was missing from one of the three years; Delaware, Montana, Alaska, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Additionally, although the scoring model changed in 2013, we were still able to highlight the accurate changes from 2012-2013 thanks to this lovely resource on how to convert the numbers.
Biggest Credit Improvement from 2011-2012
- Idaho jumped a whole 23 points
- Nevada and South Dakota improved by 6 points
- Arizona improved by 4 points
- Florida and Texas improved by 3 points
Largest Decline in Credit from 2011-2012
- Michigan dropped by 5 points
- Ohio dropped by 4 points
- Illinois, Pennsylvania and Connecticut dropped by 3 points
- Georgia, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Washington dropped by 2 points
Biggest Credit Improvement from 2012-2013
- Michigan improved by 19 points
- Texas & Georgia improved by 17 points
- Virginia improved by 16 points
- New Mexico, Mississippi and Kentucky improved by 14 points
Largest Decline in Credit from 2012-2013
- Maine dropped by a whopping 29 points
- Idaho dropped 15 points
Year Over Year Analysis
The National average for 2013, according to Experian, was 681. The National average for 2012 was 750 and 749 in 2011.
|2013 VantageScore Average||2012 VantageScore Average||2011 VantageScore Average|