It’s great to be from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Minnesotans on average have the highest credit scores of any U.S. state, averaging 709, on the VantageScore scale of 300 to 850.
Minnesota’s average credit score, 709, is considered “good,” by VantageScore’s standards. It falls just short of the highest category, “excellent,” which is reserved for those with scores between 750 and 850. Just 13% of all people have “good” credit, as Minnesotans do. The average VantageScore across the U.S. is 675.
Vermont came in just behind Minnesota, with an average score of 702, followed by New Hampshire, South Dakota and Massachusetts. (VantageScore is just one scoring system lenders may use to determine creditworthiness; some use another model, including the FICO score, named for the Fair Isaac Corporation).
Mississippi ranked last, with an average score of 647, considered “poor” credit on the VantageScore scale. The other states with the lowest scores were Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Nevada. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the states with the highest number of credit cards, but Alaskans carry the highest actual credit-card balances.
Minnesotans have some of the highest median household incomes in the U.S., topping more than $67,000 per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And yet their cost of living is approximately 5% higher than the national average. They have some of the lowest credit-card debt balances per capita in the U.S., according to Experian.
Credit scoring does not directly take income into account, but higher wealth may help citizens of some states have higher scores. The VantageScore is made up of financial factors besides income, including payment history, debt owed and credit limit being used.
Citizens of Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Nevada, however, have some of the lowest median household incomes. Having a poor credit score can make life even more expensive. Consumers with low credit scores not only have to pay higher interest rates on loans, but they also have less favorable credit-card options with fewer perks.
And many consumers don’t know the impact of having bad credit. About one quarter of consumers check their credit scores monthly or more, but roughly 12% have never checked their scores, according to the personal-finance company NerdWallet.