State Credit Score Rankings

Dec 2, 2014 by

Did you know that Minnesota is the only state never to vote Reagan for President? Further, Minnesota has not swung Republican in a Presidential contest since Richard M. Nixon beat out George S. McGovern in 1972. That’s the longest active blue streak of any state.

That trivia likely has no relationship to Minnesotans’ use of personal credit. But it might. ­čÖé

Minnesota Cities’ Astonishing Credit Score Rankings

Credit bureau Experian’s fifth annual State of Credit report ranks U.S. cities by credit score (specifically, the VantageScore┬«). Remarkably (I think!), the top four spots are occupied by Minnesota cities:

  1. Mankato @706 (been there!)
  2. Rochester @703 (hi Travis P!)
  3. Minneapolis @702 (lived there for four years)
  4. Duluth @699 (been there many times, once in a blizzard!)
  5. Wausau, WI @699
  6. Fargo, ND @699 (great movie!)
  7. Green Bay, WI @698 (go Pack!)
  8. Sioux Falls, SD @697
  9. Cedar Rapid, IA @697
  10. La Crosse, WI @696

I wrote that the top four cities are in Minnesota, but to be fair, Duluth is tied with Wausau WI and Fargo ND for the #4 spot.

Upper Midwest Dominates Credit Scores

Top 10 Cities by Credit ScoreThe top 10 cities ranked by credit score comprise a tight cluster in the upper Midwest. What do you think accounts for that?

German and Scandinavian heritage?

Maybe cold hands make it tough to slide a credit card out of a purse or wallet.

John Considine, business development resource manager at Greater Mankato Growth, offers this simple explanation: “People [in Mankato] don’t have an affinity toward buying on credit.” Huh. Imagine that.

Bottom 10 Cities Ranked by Credit Score

I don’t want to dwell too long on the list of ten U.S. cities with lowest credit scores, but here it is:

bottom 10 cities by credit score

  1. Greenwood, MS @609
  2. Riverside, CA @620
  3. Albany, GA @621
  4. Harlingen, TX @625
  5. Laredo, TX @630 (Texas braggin’ rights! “We’re better than Harlingen!”)
  6. Las Vegas, NV @632
  7. Jackson, MS @632
  8. Alexandria, LA @634
  9. Bakersfield, CA @635
  10. Columbus, MS @635

What Accounts for the Difference?

What’s so different between debtors in Mankato and Greenwood? Maybe a comparison of a few stats will give us a clue.

mankato greenwood usa credit score comparison

These numbers don’t help me a bit in understanding the reason for the difference in average credit scores between #1 Mankato and #Last Greenwood. Debtors in Greenwood actually have significantly fewer credit cards, though their credit utilization is quite a lot higher than Mankato’s. Greenwoodians’ average debt is just a bit higher, and they actually carry a much lower credit card balance than the average American.

I can only hypothesize that Greenwood debtors’ payment history is quite a lot poorer than the average Mankato debtor.

What do you think may underlie the credit score differences in Experian’s ranking? I’m sure all Money Counselor readers would like especially to hear from folks who live in one of the ranked cities!

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