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Credit Scores Lower in States With High Ratios of Delinquent Accounts

In the past year, average FICO® Scores* reached record highs—showing that consumers' hard work and effort in maintaining good credit histories seems to be paying off.

And as the nation sees credit scores rise, late payments or delinquent credit accounts—those that have ever been 30 or more days past due—are on the decline across the country. In some states, consumers have reduced their ratio of delinquent credit accounts to total accounts by nearly half over a five-year period.

As part of our ongoing look at credit scores throughout the U.S., Experian analyzed consumer credit data for the second quarter (Q2) of 2019 to see how borrowers were paying back their debt. For this analysis, we compared the average number of delinquent credit accounts with the average total number of credit accounts per consumer. Read on for our insights and analysis.

Consumers in Louisiana Have Highest Ratio of Delinquent Credit Accounts

When it comes to states with the highest ratio of delinquent credit accounts to total credit accounts, Louisiana tops the charts with one in three consumer accounts being delinquent—28.3% in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. That's more than 10 percentage points higher than the national Q2 2019 average of 18%.

West Virginia, Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Carolina followed Louisiana as the states with the highest ratio of delinquent to total credit accounts.

States With the Highest Ratio of Delinquent Credit Accounts
StateAverage FICO® ScoreAverage Delinquent Accounts per ConsumerAverage Total Accounts per ConsumerRatio of Delinquent Accounts to Total Accounts
Louisiana6772.89.928.3%
West Virginia6872.810.127.7%
Oklahoma6822.61026.0%
Mississippi6672.3925.6%
South Carolina6812.710.625.5%
Alabama6802.59.925.3%
Texas6802.71124.5%
Georgia6822.510.224.5%
Arkansas6832.49.824.5%
Tennessee6902.510.424.0%

*Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Minnesota Consumers Have Lowest Ratio of Delinquent Accounts

Minnesota is home to the consumers with the lowest ratio of delinquent credit accounts to total credit accounts, according to Experian data. In Q2 2019, just over 10% of consumers' average total accounts in the state were delinquent.

South Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire and Hawaii follow Minnesota as the states with the lowest ratio of delinquent to total credit accounts.

States With the Lowest Ratio of Delinquent to Total Credit Accounts
StateAverage FICO® ScoreAverage Delinquent Accounts Per ConsumerAverage Total Accounts per ConsumerRatio of Delinquent Accounts to Total Accounts
Minnesota7331.211.510.4%
South Dakota7281.311.511.3%
Vermont7261.31111.8%
New Hampshire7241.411.811.9%
Hawaii7231.210.111.9%
Massachusetts7231.310.911.9%
Washington7231.31013.0%
Nebraska7231.511.413.2%
North Dakota7271.71214.2%
Connecticut7171.611.114.4%

*Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Nevada Is Most-Improved State for Late Payments

Compared with Q2 2014, consumers in Nevada saw the largest decrease in their ratio of delinquent credit accounts to total accounts, according to Experian data. In the five-year period, these consumers lowered their ratio of delinquent to average total credit accounts by 17.2%.

While consumers in Nevada had the biggest reduction in late payments over the past five years, the state's 40% delinquency ratio still outranks most of the country. Mississippi and West Virginia, other states where delinquency rates dropped significantly, also continued to rank among the states with the most late payments in Q2 2019.

States With the Largest Change in Number of Late Payments
StateAverage FICO® ScoreRatio of Delinquent Accounts to Total Accounts 2014Ratio of Delinquent Accounts to Total Accounts 2019Percentage Point Change Over Time
Nevada67740.0%22.8%-17.2%
Mississippi68738.5%25.6%-13.0%
West Virginia68238.0%27.7%-10.2%
Kentucky66730.7%21.0%-9.7%
Delaware68128.6%18.9%-9.7%

*Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

States With More Late Payments Have Lowest Credit Scores

Payment history is the most important factor when it comes to calculating your credit score. That's why it's no surprise consumers had lower average credit scores in states with a higher ratio of delinquent credit accounts to total credit accounts.

Louisiana had the highest ratio of delinquent to total average credit accounts in Q2 2019. The state's average FICO® Score—677—was also the second-lowest in the nation, surpassing only Mississippi, which had an average score of 667.

Credit Scores in States With High Delinquency Ratios
StateState Average FICO® ScoreNational Average FICO® ScoreDifference From National Average
Louisiana677703-26 points
West Virginia687703-16 points
Oklahoma682703-21 points

*Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

On the other end of the spectrum, Minnesota had the highest average FICO® Score of 733 in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. The state also had the lowest ratio of delinquent credit accounts to total accounts of any state. While it is impossible to say for sure that the ratio of late payments is responsible for Minnesota's top average credit score, other states with low delinquency ratios typically have top-tier credit scores.

In South Dakota and Vermont—the states with the second- and third-lowest delinquency ratios, respectively—consumers' FICO® Scores were significantly above the national average of 703 in Q2 2019. The top three states with the fewest late payments also had average FICO® Scores in the top 10% of all states.

Credit Scores in States With Low Delinquency Ratios
StateState Average FICO® ScoreNational Average FICO® ScoreDifference From National Average
Minnesota733703+30 points
South Dakota728703+25 points
Vermont726703+23 points

*Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Looking across the country, it's clear that in places where delinquency ratios were higher, credit scores were lower. While this does not necessarily mean that the late payments are driving the low scores, it reinforces the importance of payment history and shows how paying late or missing payments—at least in part—can affect a credit score.


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Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

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