Average American Credit Score Has Risen, But State-by-State Results Are Uneven

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 8, 2021
'Credit cards' by Sprinno - Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Overall, the average credit scores of people in the United States has risen, but the total number obscures deep disparities from state to state, according to a report from credit rating agency Experian.

Data shows that the average VantageScore has risen from 688 to 695, and the median score has gone from 697 to 707. Similarly, the average debt balance has gone down, from $5,897 to $5,525. Average past due delinquency rates are also down, especially for very late bills, which have gone from 3.8 percent to 2.5 percent. 

Citing Joseph Mayans, principal economist at Advantage Economics, LLC, the Experian report noted that the data shows the overwhelming success of the federal government's fiscal support packages, with the most striking example being the broad-based and significant decline in delinquencies during a time when millions were out of work.

The report also credits people who used their stimulus dollars to stay on top of their bills and pay down debt, which boosted average credit scores across all generations. It also reports on unique behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic, such as changes in the rise of housing and auto debt, both of which have risen as people bought larger homes and sought to drive rather than ride public transportation.

However, the validity of these trends depends on what state one lives in, as there are wide differences among them. For instance, while Mississippi had the lowest average score, 666, Minnesota had the highest, 726. A map in Fortune based on the report shows that New Yorkers have pretty good credit, with an average score of 706. In general, the worst credit scores seem to be in the deep south. 

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