NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Wisconsin may want to change its state motto. According to new data from Experian, the dairy state is actually the preferred home of the credit elite, with four of its cities – Wausau, Madison, Green Bay and La Crosse – making the credit bureau’s list of American cities with the highest credit scores.
Experian finds consumers in the Midwest generally demonstrated they were good for a loan, while those in the South were still struggling to establish creditworthiness. Eight of the 10 cities with the lowest credit scores were in the Southern U.S. Four of these – Harlingen, Corpus Christi, Tyler and El Paso – are in Texas.
The rankings are based on scores from a random sample of consumers in Experian’s database. The scores were calculated using VantageScore, which has a range of 501 to 990. (Recall, there are a number of different credit scores available to both consumers and lenders, beyond just the common 300-850 FICO credit-scoring model.)
Experian says credit scores are improving nationwide, but only slightly.
Five out of 10 of the bottom markets increased their credit scores and decreased debt since Experian analyzed them in 2010. However, average debt nationwide decreased by only about 1%, down about $200 to $24,542, indicating that those working to improve their debt-to-credit ratio, a major component of all credit scores, aren’t making too much headway.
“[The] data shows that we still have a long way to go toward economic prosperity, but that many consumers are taking small steps toward improving their credit and debt management,” Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics for Experian, said in a press release.
According to the data, the cities with the highest credit scores are:
- Wausau, Wis.: 789
- Minneapolis: 787
- Madison, Wis.: 785
- Cedar Rapids, Iowa: 781
- San Francisco: 781
- Green Bay, Wis.: 780
- Boston: 779
- Peoria, Ill.: 778
- Sioux Falls, S.D.: 778
- La Crosse, Wis.: 777
The cities with the lowest credit scores are: