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In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
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As of the end of 2012, the average national credit score was 696, but the average score in some states was either far below or well above that number.
If you live in Vermont or North Dakota, you’ll need a high credit score to keep up with your neighbors. These states are tied with the highest average score of 721—a score that is equated with some of the least-risky borrowers.
According to Equifax Credit Trends data, the rest of the states with the top ten average credit scores are varied and include Midwestern states Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska; Western states Montana and South Dakota; Northeastern states Massachusetts and Connecticut; and America’s only island state, Hawaii.
On the flip side, if you live in the South, chances are you’re living in one of the states with the lowest credit scores, bottoming out in Mississippi with an average score of 661. The rest of the states with the bottom ten average credit scores are in the South as well, with the exception of both Oklahoma and Nevada.
While there’s a 60-point difference between the lowest and highest average credit scores, both numbers typically qualify as prime scores—although 720 is much more attractive to a lender than 660.
These numbers are also always in flux. The U.S. is no longer in a recession, and in the past four years, credit scores have inched upward overall by a little more than four points. Of all the states, Texas saw the largest increase in its average credit score, from about 667 to 674, followed by South Dakota and Connecticut, which each had similar seven-point gains.
But the place in the U.S. with the largest increase isn’t a state at all: Puerto Rico saw a more than 13-point difference from what was previously one of the lowest scores—658—up to 671.
Almost all of the states show increases in scores ranging from about one to seven points. New Jersey was the only state where credit scores dropped over the past four years—but just by 0.18 of a point.
Find out where your state ranks among the nation, and then find out where you fall in your state by checking your own credit score.
North Dakota 721
South Dakota 718
New Hampshire 715
New Jersey 708
New York 704
Rhode Island 704
United States 696
District Of Columbia 689
West Virginia 689
North Carolina 685
New Mexico 683
Puerto Rico 671
South Carolina 671
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