Study Finds Best and Worst Credit Cities for 2019

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have heard that the average credit score in America is on the rise. In fact, according to the Fair Isaacs Corporation — much more commonly known as FICO — the average now sits north of 700 points. However the personal finance site WalletHub recently sought to find which cities in the country had the best (and worst) credit scores, uncovering one stand-out where the median actually topped 800 points.

For the 2019 edition of their annual report, WalletHub looked at the median credit scores in 2,572 cities in the United States. Moreover the site looked strictly at city limits and did not include surrounding areas or metropolises. While they did compile each of these cities into a master list, they also divided cities in to size groups based on population, with cities of less than 100,000 people being classified as “small,” those with 300,000 or more being label as “large,” and those in between being described as “midsize.”

As for the overall high credit winner, that honor went The Villages, Florida where the median credit score is an impressive 806. That retirement community was followed by two others: Sun City Center, Florida and Sun City West, Arizona. Those two were found to have median scores of 791 and 789 respectively. Joining them in the top 10 (and all ranking in the 99th percentile) were Green Valley, Arizona; Los Altos, California; Estero, Florida; Lexington, Massachusetts; Needham, Massachusetts; and Laguna Woods, California.

With the main list dominated by small cities, it’s actually the large cities list that proves more interesting. Among cities with more than 300,000 people, San Francisco’s median credit score of 745 was found to be the highest. That said its overall rank was 301. Also performing well among large cities were Seattle, Washington (741 median score); San Jose, California (730); Boston, Massachusetts (723); and Portland, Oregon (722). Funny enough, the next two on the list were actually the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Finally, among midsize cities, Highlands Ranch, Colorado was the highest ranked with a median score of 761.

Looking to the bottom of the list, the 2,572nd ranked city was Camden, New Jersey where the median credit score was 543. A four-way tie of cities with a 552 median followed, including East Saint Louis, Illinois; Chester, Pennsylvania; Harvey, Illinois; and Detroit, Michigan. Detroit also ranked the lowest of all large cities, joined by Memphis, Tennessee; Cleveland, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Baltimore, Maryland.

At the end of the day, as interesting as this latest WalletHub study is, it doesn’t exactly tell us a whole lot we didn’t already know. For example, even if the names of the top ranking cities didn’t give away that they were retirement towns, you might have assumed as much since older adults tend to have higher credit. Similarly Detroit and other large cities on the bottom of the list have been through some trying times that have taken a toll on their residents’ finances. With all that said, all we can hope is that scores will continue to increase across the board.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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