Consumer credit reporting agency Experian has released its eighth annual State of Credit report, showing a positive state of affairs that includes average credit scores trending upward and inching closer to pre-Recession totals.
Experian’s data reveals that the national average credit score has ticked upwards by two points in the past year, rising from 673 to 675. Furthermore, that new total puts it only four points shy of the pre-Recession 2007 average of 679. Experian’s report also shows that consumer confidence is actually higher than in 2007—it’s up 16 percent compared to the same time in that year. Consumer confidence is also up 25 percent year over year.
Experian also found that the average mortgage debt in 2017 was $201,811.
Michele Raneri, VP of Analytics and New Business Development at Experian, said, "The trend line that we are seeing is quite promising. With employment and consumer confidence on the rise, we've made great progress as a country since the recession. The economy is expected to expand at a healthy pace this year supported by access to affordable consumer credit and we believe that credit will continue to rebound. All of the factors point towards a good year for credit in 2018."
Experian also rated cities around the country as part of its annual State of Credit report. Which city led the pack with the highest average credit score in 2017? It was Minneapolis, Minnesota, boasting an average credit score of 709, which was two points higher than its 2016 average score of 707. Minnesota must be doing something right, because two other Minnesota cities top the list right behind Minneapolis: Rochester and Mankato, both with an average credit score of 708.
Rounding out Experian’s top 10 are Wausau, Wisconsin (average credit score 706); Green Bay, Wisconsin (705); Duluth, Minnesota (704); Sioux Falls, South Dakota (704); San Francisco, California (703); La Crosse, Wisconsin (703); and Madison, Wisconsin (703).
Southern states dominate the other end of the average credit spectrum, with Texas occupying four of the 10 cities with the lowest average credit ratings for 2017. The bottom 10 cities include Greenwood, Mississippi (624); Albany, Georgia (626); Harlingen, Texas (631); Laredo, Texas (635); Riverside, California (636); Corpus Christi, Texas (638); Odessa, Texas (640); Monroe, Louisiana (640); Montgomery, Alabama (640); and Shreveport, Louisiana (640).
Experian also analyzed credit differences along generational divides. Here’s what they found:
- Generation Z (born 1996 and later) is building credit through different methods than the generations before them, with heavier student loan debts and fewer credit cards and department store cards. And they are keeping debts low and managing them well.
- Generation Y/Millennials (born 1977–1995) have seen their scores climb four points over the past year. They’ve also decreased their overall average debt by nearly eight percent, but have added six percent in mortgage debt.
- Generation X (born 1965–1976) has a credit score of 658, the highest mortgage debt of all generations, and a high instance of late payments compared to the national average. Their scores have improved, so they are managing their debts better than in the past.
- Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964) continue to carry quite a bit of mortgage debt, and have the lowest late payment instances of all the generations.
- The Silent Generation (born 1945 and before) has quite a bit of mortgage debt, but are keeping other debts low and making payments on time. At 729, they have the best credit score of all generations and the fewest late payments of any generation.
You can peruse Experian’s full State of Credit report for 2017 by clicking here.