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Credit and Debt Habits: Cities Where People Are in the Best Financial Shape

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Credit and Debt Habits: Cities Where People are in the Best Financial Shape

Americans are in debt, and a lot of it. The average American has $26,246 in non-mortgage debt, including $3,804 in credit card debt, according to May 2015 data from Experian, a credit reporting agency.

Across the country, average credit card debt from city to city can vary over $2,500. Similar differences are found across other financial indicators, too — from spending and mortgages to consumer debt, such as student loans and car loans  — demonstrating how credit and debt differ significantly in the U.S.

But where exactly do Americans stand out in terms of their finances? NerdWallet looked at credit scores, mortgages and other data on debt and spending to identify the cities where people are in the best financial shape.

 

Check out NerdWallet’s tools to help you pay off credit card debt and find the right cards to rebuild your credit.

 

Key takeaways


Expensive cities strain finances. Americans living in places such as Miami and Los Angeles struggle to keep their debt and spending low, probably due to the higher cost of living. In Los Angeles, 61% of homeowners’ median household income goes toward their mortgage and other housing costs, making it more difficult to stay in good financial shape.

Trouble in the South. “Unfortunately Southern cities tend to have lower [credit] scores than Northern cities, particularly the Midwest,” says Rod Griffin, Experian’s director of public education. In our study, cities in the South make up 65% of the bottom 20 because of low credit scores and higher levels of consumer debt as a percentage of income.

Midwest keeps finances in check. Many Midwest cities took the top spots on our list — likely due to strong economies paired with lower costs of living. The median homeowner in Sioux City, Iowa, spends 28% of household income on a mortgage and other housing costs, and when compared with other Americans, is far less likely to have more than one loan on a home.

» MORE: How to pay off debt

 

Credit and Debt Habits: Cities Where People are in the Best Financial Shape

 

Beyond credit score

Having a high credit score is valuable, since it can help you save thousands of dollars in interest payments. But Experian’s Griffin warns against becoming fixated on your score, suggesting consumers “focus instead on the credit report itself … if you take care of your credit report, all of your scores will take care of themselves.”

Indeed, the purpose of a credit score is to assess the risk — not your financial health — that a creditor takes when loaning money to you.

This means it’s important to take a holistic approach, looking at factors in addition to your credit score to gauge financial health. In our study, we considered the bigger picture because the proportion of your income that goes to your mortgage, housing costs and other debts has a big impact on your budget, savings and financial stress. But these factors have no direct impact on your credit score.

 

The first step to build better credit is to find out where you stand. Check out NerdWallet’s advice on obtaining your free credit report.

 

Where people are in the best (and worst) financial shape

Scroll through the table below to see the data for all 265 cities in this study.

Rank City Homes with over one mortgage, a home equity loan
or both
Monthly income used for mortgage and related
housing cost
Average credit score Average consumer debt as a percentage of per capita income Average credit card debt Average number of credit cards Score
1 Dickinson, North Dakota 8.0% 24% 689.31 93% $2,941 2.11 85.39
2 Bismarck, North Dakota 7.7% 27% 689.31 89% $2,941 2.11 85.34
3 Sioux City, Iowa 5.6% 28% 695.323 112% $2,886 1.93 81.24
4 Minot, North Dakota 9.8% 26% 689.31 97% $2,941 2.11 80.16
5 Moline, Illinois 7.8% 27% 688.699 94% $3,239 2.06 79.21
6 Helena, Montana 6.8% 32% 698.803 87% $3,742 2.40 74.77
7 Appleton, Wisconsin 12.3% 29% 700.398 87% $3,142 2.09 74.74
8 Bloomington, Illinois 11.4% 27% 689.495 81% $3,523 2.16 73.81
9 Rochester, Minnesota 15.6% 26% 700.822 75% $3,388 2.19 73.17
10 Richland, Washington 6.4% 25% 671.399 72% $3,808 1.99 73.06
11 Austin, Minnesota 9.2% 29% 700.822 107% $3,388 2.19 72.04
12 Quincy, Illinois 8.8% 30% 688.5 111% $2,711 1.87 71.26
13 Ottumwa, Iowa 6.8% 28% 684.646 134% $2,700 2.03 70.60
14 Sioux Falls, South Dakota 11.0% 29% 700.621 96% $3,577 2.17 69.72
15 Victoria, Texas 1.6% 30% 667.861 120% $3,091 2.03 69.64
16 Cedar Rapids, Iowa 14.5% 28% 700.475 95% $3,101 2.00 69.63
17 North Platte, Nebraska 6.5% 32% 691.407 96% $3,746 1.94 69.26
18 Decatur, Illinois 6.0% 28% 674.933 111% $3,408 1.96 68.63
19 Springfield, Illinois 9.2% 28% 674.933 89% $3,408 1.96 68.30
20 Rock Island, Illinois 8.6% 31% 688.699 115% $3,239 2.06 68.14
21 Lincoln, Nebraska 12.4% 31% 691.313 96% $3,250 2.17 68.07
22 Wausau, Wisconsin 10.4% 36% 703.061 95% $3,148 1.94 67.91
23 Peoria, Illinois 8.9% 33% 689.495 103% $3,523 2.16 66.38
24 Green Bay, Wisconsin 13.3% 33% 700.398 99% $3,142 2.09 65.34
25 Waterloo, Iowa 12.5% 28% 700.475 123% $3,101 2.00 65.17
26 Great Falls, Montana 6.7% 31% 687.222 116% $3,595 2.06 65.10
27 St. Joseph, Missouri 7.3% 30% 667.838 107% $3,042 1.73 65.05
28 Altoona, Pennsylvania 8.6% 30% 692.584 144% $3,397 2.15 64.54
29 Billings, Montana 9.4% 33% 680.943 88% $3,561 2.05 64.46
30 Jefferson City, Missouri 6.8% 29% 679.814 114% $3,668 1.92 63.11
31 Madison, Wisconsin 17.3% 38% 697.574 80% $3,258 2.17 62.60
32 Midland, Texas 2.6% 26% 644.026 88% $3,766 1.83 62.35
33 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 10.9% 32% 690.616 103% $3,673 2.26 62.32
34 Juneau and borough, Alaska 10.0% 31% 681.553 63% $4,885 2.07 61.69
35 Mankato, Minnesota 14.4% 35% 716.416 102% $3,154 2.33 61.52
36 Johnstown, Pennsylvania 5.7% 38% 692.584 176% $3,397 2.15 61.34
37 Des Moines, Iowa 11.4% 31% 689.263 111% $3,431 1.98 60.90
38 Springfield, Missouri 8.1% 33% 670.313 115% $3,244 2.21 60.73
39 Fort Wayne, Indiana 10.1% 26% 670.305 109% $3,484 2.01 60.71
40 San Angelo, Texas 2.2% 30% 662.714 125% $3,579 2.17 60.64
41 Omaha, Nebraska 12.2% 32% 689.387 101% $3,648 2.23 59.93
42 Lima, Ohio 9.4% 35% 685.294 153% $2,692 2.12 59.91
43 Fargo, North Dakota 12.7% 37% 701.502 89% $3,682 2.29 59.65
44 Parkersburg, West Virginia 7.9% 33% 666.903 120% $2,996 1.88 58.91
45 Topeka, Kansas 8.7% 31% 675.136 113% $3,495 1.99 58.72
46 Anchorage, Alaska 9.1% 31% 670.942 85% $5,192 2.29 58.58
47 Wichita, Kansas 8.0% 32% 668.022 103% $3,556 1.93 58.24
48 Pasco, Washington 4.5% 28% 671.399 140% $3,808 1.99 58.16
49 Eau Claire, Wisconsin 14.5% 33% 695.992 115% $3,146 2.08 58.15
50 Rapid City, South Dakota 10.6% 32% 686.545 107% $3,857 2.45 57.26
51 Kennewick, Washington 8.5% 31% 671.399 105% $3,808 1.99 55.92
52 Lafayette, Louisiana 7.3% 33% 650.416 97% $3,281 1.77 55.41
53 Bay City, Michigan 7.7% 35% 669.066 125% $3,098 1.91 55.41
54 Wichita Falls, Texas 2.2% 31% 658.107 118% $3,730 1.86 55.26
55 Huntsville, Alabama 11.3% 29% 663.267 87% $3,550 1.72 55.06
56 Lubbock, Texas 2.9% 33% 645.414 120% $3,266 1.94 55.01
57 Butte-Silver Bow, Montana 7.6% 30% 683.498 121% $4,521 2.02 54.68
58 La Crosse, Wisconsin 13.7% 36% 695.992 125% $3,146 2.08 54.64
59 Abilene, Texas 2.8% 31% 652.052 127% $3,415 1.83 54.59
60 Evansville, Indiana 8.4% 31% 669.544 120% $3,421 1.80 54.43
61 Amarillo, Texas 3.6% 30% 646.915 110% $3,696 1.88 54.23
62 Odessa, Texas 2.1% 26% 644.026 117% $3,766 1.83 54.21
63 South Bend, Indiana 8.7% 31% 673.209 131% $3,331 1.86 53.95
64 Grand Junction, Colorado 10.9% 37% 670.683 95% $3,300 1.85 53.65
65 Auburn, Maine 13.9% 37% 687.723 88% $3,726 2.21 53.61
66 Cheyenne, Wyoming 12.8% 28% 682.997 106% $4,088 2.19 53.53
67 Lafayette, Indiana 13.1% 28% 663.502 118% $3,065 1.93 53.52
68 Charleston, West Virginia 8.1% 29% 653.53 71% $4,114 1.75 53.49
69 Minneapolis, Minnesota 17.4% 39% 704.361 84% $3,804 2.35 53.23
70 Salt Lake City, Utah 12.5% 38% 676.681 90% $3,597 2.23 53.11
71 Boise City, Idaho 15.9% 32% 669.214 100% $3,272 2.23 53.09
72 Elmira, New York 6.5% 39% 669.451 163% $3,278 2.27 53.01
73 Naples, Florida 10.5% 46% 679.476 30% $3,668 2.29 52.90
74 Joplin, Missouri 5.6% 31% 654.894 116% $3,651 1.91 52.79
75 Buffalo, New York 10.1% 37% 682.587 123% $3,504 2.35 52.72
76 Corpus Christi, Texas 3.6% 33% 644.281 112% $3,523 1.84 52.65
77 Youngstown, Ohio 5.3% 38% 670.538 178% $3,455 2.04 52.43
78 Tyler, Texas 3.7% 33% 641.271 103% $3,638 1.83 51.81
79 San Jose, California 18.7% 41% 693.046 76% $3,839 2.47 51.62
80 Idaho Falls, Idaho 11.9% 31% 680.287 121% $3,694 2.15 51.31
81 Duluth, Minnesota 12.4% 34% 700.46 104% $4,078 2.03 51.28
82 Rockford, Illinois 10.6% 37% 678.054 120% $3,319 2.02 51.14
83 New York, New York 9.7% 58% 681.764 80% $3,933 2.55 50.98
84 Palm Springs, California 10.6% 50% 663.317 71% $3,366 2.21 50.78
85 Saginaw, Michigan 7.9% 38% 669.066 168% $3,098 1.91 50.73
86 Austin, Texas 7.7% 38% 665.581 91% $4,206 2.35 50.60
87 Casper, Wyoming 9.3% 26% 653.332 101% $3,975 1.88 50.00
88 Decatur, Alabama 10.7% 30% 663.267 105% $3,550 1.72 49.98
89 Bowling Green, Kentucky 8.0% 41% 662.14 116% $3,040 1.93 49.93
90 Terre Haute, Indiana 9.1% 31% 671.248 151% $3,462 1.81 49.84
91 Temple, Texas 2.1% 31% 646.704 119% $3,872 1.99 49.79
92 Scranton, Pennsylvania 10.0% 37% 681.048 132% $3,445 2.14 49.63
93 Fort Smith, Arkansas 5.6% 32% 657.489 122% $3,750 1.83 49.52
94 Elkhart, Indiana 11.0% 31% 673.209 153% $3,331 1.86 49.41
95 Flint, Michigan 5.4% 44% 669.066 163% $3,098 1.91 49.38
96 Utica, New York 7.8% 44% 681.07 160% $3,251 2.18 49.35
97 Fort Worth, Texas 4.7% 32% 652.857 118% $4,175 2.24 49.08
98 Jackson, Tennessee 8.3% 40% 651.472 90% $3,227 1.66 49.00
99 Jonesboro, Arkansas 5.8% 30% 653.641 129% $3,607 1.81 48.98
100 St. Paul, Minnesota 18.0% 38% 704.361 103% $3,804 2.35 48.97
101 Missoula, Montana 13.1% 42% 690.525 99% $3,641 2.11 48.57
102 Grand Rapids, Michigan 13.1% 33% 670.678 114% $3,317 1.91 48.52
103 Ames, Iowa 12.8% 39% 689.263 116% $3,431 1.98 48.46
104 Spokane, Washington 11.6% 36% 681.774 109% $3,769 2.05 48.32
105 Little Rock, Arkansas 8.7% 34% 652.331 99% $3,699 1.95 48.24
106 Denver, Colorado 16.1% 37% 682.483 81% $4,216 2.44 48.15
107 Champaign, Illinois 13.1% 37% 674.933 103% $3,408 1.96 48.07
108 San Francisco, California 17.2% 50% 693.046 53% $3,839 2.47 47.79
109 Bristol, Tennessee 7.9% 33% 659.079 122% $3,436 1.70 47.79
110 Watertown, New York 10.9% 33% 677.502 137% $3,453 1.83 47.76
111 Columbia, Missouri 12.3% 36% 679.814 105% $3,668 1.92 47.65
112 Oakland, California 18.2% 55% 693.046 79% $3,839 2.47 47.58
113 Beaumont, Texas 3.0% 38% 654.909 113% $3,789 1.90 47.37
114 Fort Myers, Florida 11.6% 41% 679.476 104% $3,668 2.29 47.35
115 Marquette, Michigan 11.2% 40% 691.781 127% $3,518 1.94 47.30
116 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 7.2% 33% 655.662 112% $3,762 1.90 47.28
117 Knoxville, Tennessee 8.1% 37% 662.386 106% $3,624 1.81 47.09
118 Kansas City, Missouri 11.1% 35% 673.425 108% $3,919 2.19 47.06
119 Bangor, Maine 17.6% 48% 682.5 100% $2,936 1.95 47.01
120 Pocatello, Idaho 12.9% 31% 680.287 132% $3,694 2.15 46.93
121 Pine Bluff, Arkansas 3.9% 34% 652.331 165% $3,699 1.95 46.84
122 Boston, Massachusetts 15.4% 50% 694.364 77% $3,937 2.37 46.76
123 Kingsport, Tennessee 11.5% 34% 659.079 99% $3,436 1.70 46.60
124 Dothan, Alabama 8.9% 31% 654.538 108% $3,809 1.87 46.38
125 Springdale, Arkansas 5.9% 32% 657.489 144% $3,750 1.83 46.19
126 Florence, South Carolina 10.1% 35% 638.249 95% $3,212 1.82 46.06
127 Binghamton, New York 7.5% 43% 682.669 120% $3,819 2.12 46.03
128 Lancaster, Pennsylvania 8.2% 40% 686.136 164% $3,870 2.16 45.92
129 Tulsa, Oklahoma 7.1% 34% 651.268 103% $3,865 1.81 45.60
130 Erie, Pennsylvania 11.7% 35% 677.752 140% $3,407 1.92 45.57
131 Houston, Texas 5.1% 39% 653.386 104% $4,083 2.29 45.44
132 Fairbanks, Alaska 7.4% 43% 679.589 111% $4,790 2.19 45.32
133 Portland, Maine 16.7% 47% 687.723 86% $3,726 2.21 45.19
134 Bozeman, Montana 10.4% 38% 683.498 109% $4,521 2.02 45.10
135 Portland, Oregon 16.2% 39% 678.311 82% $3,857 2.08 44.87
136 Syracuse, New York 9.5% 42% 684.153 138% $3,585 2.21 44.85
137 Colorado Springs, Colorado 14.8% 33% 668.456 99% $3,836 2.21 44.79
138 Louisville/Jefferson county, Kentucky 13.2% 32% 660.76 95% $3,737 1.91 44.66
139 Charlottesville, Virginia 14.4% 46% 695.46 97% $3,770 2.37 44.54
140 Rochester, New York 11.1% 39% 686.61 134% $3,747 2.48 44.49
141 Eureka, California 19.0% 44% 676.434 101% $2,996 1.91 44.27
142 Twin Falls, Idaho 12.5% 31% 656.339 139% $3,153 1.97 44.15
143 Seattle, Washington 17.1% 41% 683.041 63% $4,328 2.23 44.08
144 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 10.4% 38% 686.136 144% $3,870 2.16 44.06
145 Burlington, Vermont 12.3% 48% 692.195 106% $3,836 2.15 43.77
146 Zanesville, Ohio 10.9% 39% 664.652 138% $2,532 1.87 43.68
147 Charleston, South Carolina 18.1% 39% 650.946 82% $3,199 2.05 43.64
148 Washington, D.C. 16.8% 41% 680.02 61% $4,192 2.35 43.47
149 Yakima, Washington 8.0% 37% 671.399 136% $3,808 1.99 43.34
150 Urban Honolulu CDP, Hawaii 13.4% 47% 690.433 89% $4,251 2.43 43.30
151 Troy, New York 8.1% 44% 686.444 120% $4,087 2.34 43.28
152 Lexington-Fayette county, Kentucky 15.3% 32% 650.563 83% $3,561 1.83 43.20
153 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 8.2% 36% 647.22 115% $3,445 1.89 43.10
154 Bend, Oregon 15.0% 36% 685.925 98% $4,020 1.94 43.07
155 Charlotte, North Carolina 18.6% 32% 657.569 87% $3,809 2.00 42.59
156 Raleigh, North Carolina 16.2% 31% 660.682 91% $3,973 2.09 42.50
157 Albany, New York 9.8% 47% 686.444 109% $4,087 2.34 42.45
158 El Paso, Texas 4.8% 33% 648.476 135% $3,922 1.95 42.26
159 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 9.0% 40% 675.274 119% $3,982 2.31 42.25
160 San Antonio, Texas 5.6% 33% 651.22 128% $3,996 2.01 42.18
161 St. Louis, Missouri 10.1% 42% 674.842 118% $3,799 2.21 41.83
162 Port Arthur, Texas 2.3% 39% 654.909 151% $3,789 1.90 41.81
163 Monterey, California 17.1% 50% 669.639 67% $3,542 2.07 41.64
164 Pueblo, Colorado 8.7% 38% 668.456 145% $3,836 2.21 41.57
165 Shreveport, Louisiana 6.6% 35% 636.533 109% $3,587 1.73 41.50
166 Lansing, Michigan 11.6% 36% 672.189 135% $3,544 1.96 41.46
167 Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 12.2% 35% 660.133 99% $3,792 1.88 41.45
168 Dallas, Texas 5.7% 42% 652.857 104% $4,175 2.24 41.42
169 Schenectady, New York 8.7% 43% 686.444 128% $4,087 2.34 41.35
170 West Palm Beach, Florida 14.5% 42% 669.567 83% $3,770 2.33 41.11
171 Lake Charles, Louisiana 6.3% 34% 636.472 124% $3,400 1.62 41.08
172 Roanoke, Virginia 13.7% 35% 670.029 113% $3,594 1.90 40.94
173 Greensboro, North Carolina 13.8% 36% 660.411 99% $3,617 1.94 40.91
174 Detroit, Michigan 7.0% 52% 671.173 162% $3,687 2.20 40.69
175 Indianapolis, Indiana 11.9% 32% 653.487 111% $3,715 1.93 40.59
176 Toledo, Ohio 13.0% 38% 674.199 140% $3,386 2.07 40.58
177 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 9.8% 44% 638.249 85% $3,212 1.82 40.31
178 Hattiesburg, Mississippi 5.6% 48% 647.794 126% $3,167 1.86 40.12
179 Lebanon, Pennsylvania 10.7% 42% 686.136 149% $3,870 2.16 39.78
180 Santa Barbara, California 19.1% 54% 680.355 74% $4,060 2.25 39.75
181 Laredo, Texas 3.2% 40% 627.425 173% $2,854 1.65 39.71
182 York, Pennsylvania 9.1% 45% 686.136 179% $3,870 2.16 39.56
183 Tacoma, Washington 16.1% 39% 683.041 104% $4,328 2.23 39.29
184 Meridian, Mississippi 4.9% 38% 635.034 124% $3,365 1.49 39.07
185 Tampa, Florida 13.0% 42% 663.723 91% $3,795 2.17 38.90
186 Medford, Oregon 13.7% 42% 671.454 118% $3,322 2.09 38.89
187 Chattanooga, Tennessee 10.5% 37% 649.863 105% $3,630 1.82 38.82
188 Chicago, Illinois 12.8% 48% 673.636 96% $3,865 2.36 38.70
189 Greenville, South Carolina 16.8% 40% 658.364 87% $3,530 1.98 38.45
190 Harrisonburg, Virginia 16.8% 41% 683.989 159% $3,172 1.74 38.36
191 Eugene, Oregon 14.5% 46% 676.43 104% $3,574 2.14 37.88
192 Durham, North Carolina 15.3% 34% 660.682 95% $3,973 2.09 37.79
193 Santa Fe, New Mexico 11.7% 37% 651.652 83% $4,258 1.92 37.71
194 Bryan, Texas 3.5% 39% 646.704 145% $3,872 1.99 37.71
195 Gulfport, Mississippi 10.3% 37% 648.362 118% $3,344 1.69 37.32
196 San Diego, California 16.5% 44% 670.913 80% $4,008 2.25 37.30
197 Fort Pierce, Florida 8.0% 58% 669.567 155% $3,770 2.33 37.25
198 Tucson, Arizona 11.4% 40% 670.213 128% $3,772 2.18 36.86
199 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 12.8% 46% 652.331 70% $3,771 2.24 36.73
200 Melbourne, Florida 13.6% 38% 661.117 111% $3,702 2.15 36.65
201 Dayton, Ohio 11.2% 42% 670.578 146% $3,484 2.07 36.64
202 Cleveland, Ohio 10.8% 48% 675.546 148% $3,617 2.26 36.54
203 Sacramento, California 14.1% 41% 666.555 103% $3,700 2.09 36.39
204 High Point, North Carolina 17.0% 35% 660.411 110% $3,617 1.94 36.09
205 Harlingen, Texas 2.3% 38% 630.8 157% $3,525 1.77 35.83
206 Petersburg, Virginia 8.0% 42% 664.974 148% $3,882 2.08 35.57
207 New Orleans, Louisiana 8.6% 52% 651.924 100% $3,786 1.96 35.54
208 Miami, Florida 7.7% 70% 652.331 116% $3,771 2.24 35.52
209 Biloxi, Mississippi 9.8% 42% 648.362 112% $3,344 1.69 35.47
210 Redding, California 13.1% 44% 670.599 112% $3,455 1.88 35.37
211 San Luis Obispo, California 14.2% 62% 680.355 98% $4,060 2.25 35.34
212 Baltimore, Maryland 11.6% 40% 666.331 111% $4,193 2.29 35.29
213 Huntington, West Virginia 8.2% 35% 653.53 118% $4,114 1.75 35.26
214 Phoenix, Arizona 13.6% 35% 659.272 116% $3,814 2.11 35.19
215 Albuquerque, New Mexico 11.4% 34% 651.652 104% $4,258 1.92 35.17
216 Waco, Texas 2.8% 42% 646.704 148% $3,872 1.99 35.14
217 Holyoke, Massachusetts 13.0% 52% 679.084 115% $3,655 1.89 35.06
218 Columbus, Ohio 15.2% 36% 667.111 108% $3,738 1.51 34.89
219 Salinas, California 10.4% 46% 669.639 143% $3,542 2.07 34.69
220 Lynchburg, Virginia 15.4% 37% 670.029 125% $3,594 1.90 34.40
221 Providence, Rhode Island 14.7% 54% 684.213 114% $3,850 2.31 34.38
222 Tupelo, Mississippi 9.7% 33% 637.625 121% $3,854 2.09 34.31
223 Los Angeles, California 17.2% 61% 663.452 91% $3,744 2.28 34.23
224 Visalia, California 14.7% 35% 642.796 108% $3,234 1.78 34.14
225 Columbus, Georgia 11.9% 35% 641.281 122% $3,305 1.75 33.99
226 Wilmington, North Carolina 17.3% 43% 658.91 92% $3,722 2.13 33.43
227 Mobile, Alabama 10.4% 38% 654.326 114% $3,917 1.86 33.32
228 Klamath Falls, Oregon 14.0% 44% 671.454 132% $3,322 2.09 33.16
229 Chico, California 14.4% 50% 670.599 112% $3,455 1.88 32.74
230 Gainesville, Florida 10.2% 46% 664.929 141% $3,550 2.03 32.65
231 Monroe, Louisiana 6.4% 50% 638.716 134% $3,124 1.69 32.63
232 Alexandria, Louisiana 3.7% 40% 630.327 149% $3,562 1.67 32.48
233 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 12.5% 46% 682.466 137% $3,884 2.22 32.27
234 Modesto, California 14.3% 41% 666.555 118% $3,700 2.09 31.95
235 Panama City, Florida 9.5% 41% 651.58 124% $3,741 2.01 31.93
236 Orlando, Florida 16.2% 43% 661.117 103% $3,702 2.15 31.73
237 Montgomery, Alabama 11.6% 31% 642.51 113% $4,082 1.79 31.07
238 Reno, Nevada 13.3% 41% 652.648 104% $3,909 2.21 30.69
239 Springfield, Massachusetts 12.8% 49% 679.084 134% $3,655 1.89 30.67
240 Cincinnati, Ohio 15.4% 46% 675.072 111% $3,962 2.28 29.90
241 Jacksonville, Florida 12.7% 35% 649.576 111% $4,128 1.98 29.86
242 El Centro, California 11.9% 43% 652.793 141% $3,166 1.78 29.83
243 Bakersfield, California 13.3% 34% 637.05 116% $3,531 1.85 29.82
244 Jackson, Mississippi 6.8% 40% 633.366 149% $3,484 1.58 29.81
245 Newport News, Virginia 13.9% 35% 653.67 112% $4,291 2.06 29.69
246 Richmond, Virginia 15.1% 44% 664.974 102% $3,882 2.08 29.34
247 Salisbury, Maryland 14.4% 43% 665.968 123% $3,622 2.08 29.08
248 Greenville, Mississippi 7.1% 39% 602.403 156% $3,448 1.46 28.63
249 Las Vegas, Nevada 14.0% 36% 636.85 109% $3,840 2.22 27.95
250 Stockton, California 14.1% 42% 666.555 136% $3,700 2.09 27.79
251 Atlanta, Georgia 16.5% 45% 650.647 76% $4,146 2.13 27.55
252 Memphis, Tennessee 9.1% 40% 638.882 127% $3,619 1.77 27.55
253 Hartford, Connecticut 16.8% 67% 685.235 158% $4,027 2.30 27.09
254 Columbus, Mississippi 5.9% 49% 637.625 152% $3,854 2.09 26.38
255 Birmingham, Alabama 9.1% 41% 648.556 139% $3,870 1.76 24.58
256 Columbia, South Carolina 14.6% 38% 646.004 110% $3,963 2.02 24.52
257 Fresno, California 12.5% 43% 642.796 128% $3,234 1.78 24.48
258 Greenville, North Carolina 12.2% 44% 651.46 124% $3,659 1.93 24.05
259 Tallahassee, Florida 12.0% 44% 647.809 109% $3,743 1.77 24.04
260 Norfolk, Virginia 16.5% 43% 653.67 115% $4,291 2.06 19.14
261 Macon, Georgia 12.9% 52% 642.083 172% $3,479 1.84 18.16
262 Savannah, Georgia 10.6% 43% 639.091 141% $3,928 1.89 16.73
263 San Bernardino, California 11.2% 47% 620.21 195% $4,145 2.02 9.72
264 Albany, Georgia 11.1% 45% 619.463 163% $3,867 1.69 9.57
265 Riverside, California 15.6% 40% 620.21 128% $4,145 2.02 8.68

 

 

Table notes: Cities in the same metropolitan statistical area have the same Experian data for average consumer debt, average credit card debt, average credit score and average number of credit cards because the data aren’t available for individual cities. The average consumer debt as a percentage of per capita income among cities in our study was 114%.

Methodology


To assess the financial health of residents in cities across the U.S., we looked at data in three categories: debt, financial management and spending.

Debt. To understand the debt burden faced by residents in a metro area, we looked at May 2015 data from Experian on average consumer debt and average credit card debt. We also looked at 2013 city data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey on the percentage of homes with a second mortgage, home equity loan or both. Consumer debt was taken as a percentage of per capita income. The three debt variables are 50% of the score.

Financial management. To assess the financial management skills of residents, we looked at Experian’s May 2015 data on the average number of credit cards and the average credit score in the metro area. These factors are 30% of the score.

Spending. To assess spending habits in each place, we used 2013 data from the American Community Survey to find the percentage of household income spent on housing and related costs by homeowners. This is 20% of the score.

Experian data are for metropolitan statistical areas, which include a number of cities, while other data are for individual cities.


Top: Miami, Florida, image via iStock.

Below: Sioux City, Iowa, image via iStock.