State by State: Where People Have the Highest and Lowest Credit Scores

credit report
Casper1774 Studio / Shutterstock.com

A low credit score can keep us from getting loans, credit cards, and maybe even apartments and jobs. That little three-digit number can make or break us financially.

Recently a website called LendEDU took a state-by-state look at credit scores. The idea, according to writer Andrew Rombach, was “to see which states’ residents were doing well financially and (note the) difference between the top-performing states compared to the rest of the country.”

In this study, LendEDU determined the national average credit score to be 682. That number and the state-by-state average scores were calculated based not on Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) data, but with material from the VantageScore system. This scoring model, jointly created and owned by the three major credit reporting bureaus, requires only one month of credit history and uses fewer updates than FICO does.

VantageScore ignores bills that were once sent to collections but have since been paid off. Unlike FICO, the system takes into consideration rental- and utility-payment histories — a boon to those who have never used credit. Thus this particular credit snapshot likely provides a better indicator of financial health

Admit it: You’re dying to know where your state stands. This ranking starts with the top-scoring state, and proceeds to the worst.

1. Minnesota

Minneapolis
Nick Lundgren / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 722

Population: 5,519,952

Median household income: $61,492

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 33.7 percent

The Land of 10,000 Lakes floats well above the other states and the District of Columbia. Its VantageScore of 722 is 7.27 percent higher than the national average.

2. North Dakota

North Dakota Capitol
Ace Diamond / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 713

Population: 757,952

Median household income: $57,181

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 27.7 percent

North Dakota is the only state in the union with a state-owned bank. It’s called — you guessed it — the Bank of North Dakota.

Fun fact: It also has a state-owned flour mill.

3. Vermont

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 713

Population: 624,594

Median household income: $55,176

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 36 percent

4. New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 712

Population: 1,334,795

Median household income: $66,779

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 34.9 percent

New Hampshire residents have the highest amount of student loans in the country: an average of $36,101 per borrower.

5. South Dakota

John T / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 711

Population: 865,454

Median household income: $50,957

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 27 percent

South Dakota is tied with Oregon as the state with the lowest rate of 30-day auto loan delinquencies: Just 1 percent of car notes are overdue in the Mount Rushmore State.

6. Wisconsin

f11photo / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 710

Population: 7,778,708

Median household income: $53,357

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 27.8 percent

7. Iowa

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 708

Population: 3,134,693

Median household income: $53,183

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 26.7 percent

8. Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 706

Population: 6,811,779

Median household income: $68,563

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 40.5 percent

The Bay State has the second-highest number of college graduates in the country. Only Washington, D.C. has more.

9. Washington

Seattle, Washington Pike Place
Carter / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 704

Population: 7,288,000

Median household income: $61,062

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 32.9 percent

10. Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Filip Carmen / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 702

Population: 1,428,557

Median household income: $69,515

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 30.8 percent

As of October 2017, Hawaii had the country’s lowest unemployment rate: 2.2 percent.

11. Montana

Missoula, Montana
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 702

Population: 1,042,520

Median household income: $47,169

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 29.5 percent

12. Colorado

Denver, Colorado
EdgeofReason / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 701

Population: 5,540,545

Median household income: $60,629

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 38.1 percent

13. Nebraska

Nebraska
Steve O’Donnell / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 700

Population: 1,907,116

Median household income: $52,997

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 29.3 percent

14. Oregon

TFoxFoto / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 700

Population: 4,093,465

Median household income: $51,243

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 30.8 percent

15. Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 698

Population: 3,576,452

Median household income: $70,331

Residents with at least 4-year college degree: 37.6 percent

Connecticut has the third-highest amount of student loan debt in the nation, at $34,773 per person.

16. Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
Joe Guetzloff / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 698

Population: 3,051,217

Median household income: $60,727

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 31.1 percent

The Beehive State has the nation’s lowest average student loan debt, at $18,873.

17. Maine

Portland, Maine
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 697

Population: 1,331,479

Median household income: $49,331

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 29 percent

18. Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 695

Population: 1,683,140

Median household income: $47,583

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 25.9 percent

19. New York

Allen G. / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 694

Population: 19,745,289

Median household income: $59,269

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 34.2 percent

New York City is a relatively small part of the Empire State, but it’s the part with which many people identify. If you want to live there, better earn a bundle: Rents have increased twice as fast as salaries, according to Business Insider.

20. Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 694

Population: 12,784,227

Median household income: $53,599

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 28.6 percent

Pennsylvania has the second-highest average student loan debt in the country, at $34,798 per person.

21. Wyoming

Streets
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 694

Population: 585,501

Median household income: $58,840

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 25.7 percent

22. New Jersey

People pack the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 692

Population: 8,944,469

Median household income: $72,093

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 36.8 percent

Garden State residents owe an average of $8,406.60 in credit card debt.

23. Rhode Island

solepsizm / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 691

Population: 1,056,426

Median household income: $56,852

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 31.9 percent

While the job market is improving in the Ocean State, employment opportunities tend to be low-wage. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rhode Island is one of just two states that since 2011 has seen a significant increase in the prevalence of hunger. (The other one is Louisiana.)

24. Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Andrei Medvedev / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 690

Population: 8,411,808

Median household income: $65,015

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 36.3 percent

Virginia residents carry an average balance of $7,848.17 on their credit cards.

25. Illinois

photo-ua / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 689

Population: 12,801,539

Median household income: $57,574

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 32.3 percent

Forbes rated this state No. 46 on its “worst state for taxes” list. A couple of recent examples that have hit residents hard: a 32 percent income tax hike and a penny-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax (which was later repealed).

26. California

Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 688

Population: 39,250,017

Median household income: $61,818

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 31.4 percent

27. Kansas

Kansas City
wallace-weeks / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 684

Population: 2,907,289

Median household income: $52,205

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 31 percent

28. Michigan

Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 684

Population: 9,928,300

Median household income: $49,576

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 26.9 percent

Fifteen percent of Michigan residents live in poverty.

29. Ohio

Street scene in Cincinnati, Ohio
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 684

Population: 11,614,373

Median household income: $49,429

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 26.1 percent

After a political battle, Ohio raised its minimum wage to $8.30 an hour at the start of 2018, a 15-cent increase.

The state was one of 18 that increased minimum wage at the start of the year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

30. Missouri

St. Louis
Kenny Tong/Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 681

Population: 6,093,000

Median household income: $48,173

Residents aged 25+ with at least a 4-year degree: 27.1 percent

31. Delaware

Downtown Wilmington, Delaware
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 679

Population: 952,065

Median household income: $60,509

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 30 percent

The second-smallest state has the fourth-highest amount of education debt, with an average balance of $33,849 per borrower.

32. Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
sean-pavone / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 679

Population: 6,016,447

Median household income: $74,551

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 37.9 percent

33. Indiana

Indianapolis
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 677

Population: 6,633,053

Median household income: $49,255

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 24.1 percent

34. Alaska

Alaska
Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 675

Population: 741,894

Median household income: $72,515

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 28 percent

Sure, people who live here get an annual check called the Permanent Fund Dividend. But the cost of living is pretty high, and at least some of that is going on plastic: According to Bankrate.com, as of late 2016, the Last Frontier was also home to the highest average credit-card debt per person: $8,604.19.

And: As of October 2017, Alaska’s unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, compared to the national rate of 4.1 percent. Ouch.

35. Washington, D.C.

Washington DC
Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 674

Population: 681,170

Median household income: $70,848

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 54.6 percent

Nearly one in five (18.6 percent) residents in the District of Columbia lives in poverty. As of October 2017, unemployment in the nation’s capital was a painful 6.6 percent.

36. North Carolina

Kevin M. McCarthy / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 673

Population: 10,146,788

Median household income: $46,868

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 28.4 percent

37. Florida

Kamira / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 672

Population: 20,612,439

Median household income: $47,507

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 27.3 percent

In 2016, Florida had more home foreclosures (45,000) than any other state. It remained among the top 10 states for foreclosures rates in 2017, despite a drop of 45 percent compared to a year earlier.

38. Arizona

John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 671

Population: 6,931,071

Median household income: $50,255

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 27.5 percent

More than 16 percent of Arizona residents live in poverty.

39. Kentucky

Kentucky
Thomas Kelley / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 669

Population: 4,436,974

Median household income: $43,740

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 22.3 percent

40. West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Andrei Medvedev / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 668

Population: 1,831,102

Median household income: $41,751

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 19.2 percent

Nearly 10 percent of West Virginians between the ages of 18 and 64 receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments from the federal government. The state ranks highest or second-highest in rates of hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, and recurring back, knee and leg pain.

41. Tennessee

Tennessee
CrackerClips Stock Media / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 667

Population: 6,651,194

Median household income: $45,219

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 24.9 percent

42. New Mexico

Hot air balloons in New Mexico
Tim Pleasant / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 664

Population: 2,081,015

Median household income: $44,963

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 26.3 percent

Nearly 20 percent (19.8) of New Mexico residents live in poverty. As of October 2017, the state unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, two percentage points higher than the national rate.

43. Oklahoma

digidreamgrafix / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 663

Population: 3,923,561

Median household income: $46,879

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 24.1 percent

44. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas skyline
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 662

Population: 2,988,248

Median household income: $41,371

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 21.1 percent

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the state has the highest teen pregnancy rate: Almost 40 out of every 1,000 girls will give birth between the ages of 15 and 19.

45. South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Sean Xu / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 660

Population: 4,961,119

Median household income: $45,483

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 25.8 percent

46. Texas

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 660

Population: 27,862,596

Median household income: $53,207

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 27.6 percent

47. Alabama

Statue of Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama.
JNix / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 657

Population: 4,863,300

Median household income: $43,623

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 23.5 percent

Just over 17 percent of the residents of Alabama live in poverty.

48. Nevada

Las Vegas
Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 657

Population: 2,940,058

Median household income: $51,847

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 23 percent

Nevada has the country’s highest rate of underwater mortgages. According to Credit.com, 17.4 percent of dwellings there have loans 25 percent higher than the property’s value.

49. Georgia

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 656

Population: 10,310,371

Median household income: $49,620

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 28.8 percent

50. Louisiana

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 654

Population: 4,681,666

Median household income: $45,047

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 22.5 percent

Louisiana has a problem with underwater mortgages. According to Credit.com, 17.1 percent of homes there have loans that are at least 25 percent higher than the property’s value.

51. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

VantageScore: 648

Population: 2,988,726

Median household income: $39,665

Residents aged 25+ with at least 4-year college degree: 20.7 percent

The median net worth of Mississippi households ($35,302) is half that of U.S. households overall. The Magnolia State also has the nation’s highest 30-day auto loan delinquency rate, at 3.3 percent.

How does your credit score compare with others in your state? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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