What's Your State of Credit?

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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!

Methodology

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
Minnesota-713 South Dakota-784 Minnesota-780
North Dakota-708 Minnesota-782 Wisconsin-779
South Dakota-707 Idaho-777 South Dakota-778
Wisconsin-705 North Dakota-776 North Dakota-776
New Jersey-703 Vermont-772 Iowa-774

 

2013 Bottom 5 2012 Bottom 5 2011 Bottom 5
Mississippi-647 Mississippi-708 Mississippi-709
Louisiana & Nevada-656 Georgia-716 Texas-715
Georgia -657 Texas-718 Georgia-718
Texas-659 Louisiana-720 Louisiana-720
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
Alabama 661 732 731
Alaska N/A N/A N/A
Arizona 676 744 740
Arkansas 667 732 732
California 675 748 747
Colorado 684 762 762
Connecticut 697 771 774
Deleware 677 N/A N/A
Florida 670 737 734
Georgia 657 716 718
Hawaii 698 771 769
Idaho 684 777 754
Illinois 693 760 763
Indiana 681 750 749
Iowa 701 772 774
Kansas 688 756 756
Kentucky 674 738 739
Louisiana 656 720 720
Maine 667 772 774
Maryland 682 756 754
Massachusetts 699 770 768
Michigan 690 749 754
Minnesota 713 782 780
Mississippi 647 708 709
Missouri 683 754 753
Montana 700 N/A N/A
Nebraska 702 N/A 770
Nevada 656 730 724
New Hampshire N/A N/A N/A
New Jersey 703 N/A N/A
New Mexico 667 729 728
New York 692 762 762
North Carolina 671 742 741
North Dakota 708 776 776
Ohio 683 755 759
Oregon 688 766 765
Pennsylvania 694 765 768
Rhode Island 695 762 764
South Carolina 662 725 724
South Dakota 707 784 778
Tennessee 668 733 732
Texas 659 718 715
Utah 688 761 760
Vermont N/A 772 772
Virginia 686 748 747
Washington 690 765 767
West Virginia 672 N/A 732
Wisconsin 705 N/A 779
Wyoming 685 N/A N/A

 

*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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