Residents of the Sarasota, Florida, metro area may live only 80 miles south of Lakeland, but their median credit score is 54 points higher. Given the weight that a credit score carries, those numbers could be the difference between approval and rejection for loans, credit cards and lower interest rates on mortgages.
The wide range of credit scores across the nation’s states and cities goes well beyond Florida. Data from June 2016 from the credit reporting agency Equifax reveal the median credit score in each state, Washington, D.C., and the 100 largest metro areas. Equifax uses VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, which have a 300-850 scale, like traditional FICO scores.
Credit scores by state
Residents in Wisconsin and Minnesota tie for the highest median credit score (752), while North Dakota and South Dakota residents follow close behind, each with a median score of 749. Vermont (748) is No. 5 on the list.
Residents in Mississippi had the lowest median credit score at 674. People in Louisiana (690) and Georgia (691) had the second- and third-lowest scores in the nation.
Credit scores by metro area
Madison, Wisconsin, topped the list of metro areas, with people there boasting a median credit score of 760. The California metro areas of San Jose (754) and San Francisco (751) claim the No. 2 and 3 spots.
Other top scores belong to residents in Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul area (750), the Boston metro area (748) and folks in Pittsburgh (748).
The metro areas with the lowest credit scores are in the South. Residents in the McAllen, Texas, metro area are at the bottom, with a median credit score of 658. Other metros with low scores are El Paso, Texas (672), and Memphis, Tennessee (675).
To learn how to boost your own credit score and to find out where your state and metro area fall, read the full analysis of credit scores across the U.S.
Laura McMullen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.