People who live in New York or Los Angeles may gloat about their superiority of restaurants and cultural amenities, but towns in the Midwest have something to brag about, too: better credit scores.
A new report from credit monitoring agency Experian finds that eight of the 10 cities with the highest average credit score are in the Midwest.
On the flip side, eight of the 10 cities with the lowest credit scores are in the South.
Wausau, Wis., takes the top spot, with an average credit score of 789. It’s one of four Wisconsin cities that are in the top 10 in terms of average credit scores.
Harlingen, Texas, has the lowest average credit score of 686. It’s one of four Texas cities that fall into the bottom 10 in the credit score rankings.
Credit scores generally range from 501 to 990. A higher score is considered better, with those consumers expected to be most likely to pay off their debt on time. The survey looked at representative sample of consumers in the first half of this year.
The national average was 749, little changed from 2010. Exerian estimated that average U.S. debt, excluding mortgages, was $24,542, down slightly from the previous year.
New York ranks 37th with average credit scores of 762. Los Angele is 96th with an average score of 738.
The report notes that there’s a clear link between unemployment and credit scores. Many of the cities making the top 10 had lower-than-average unemployment rates.
The exception was San Francisco, which had an average credit score of 781 and an average unemployment rate of 10 percent during the period being studied.