Millennial Credit Scores Lag Behind Other Generations, Despite Highest Growth

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Millennial credit scores are catching up—even if it's taking some time. Though millennial scores are the second-lowest of any generation, the rate at which their scores have grown in the past five years is promising. If they continue to grow at this rate, millennials—once they reach the age older generations are now—could prove to have even higher scores than their predecessors.

As part of our ongoing look at credit scores in the U.S., Experian analyzed consumer credit and debt data from the second quarter (Q2) of 2019 to see how millennials compared with the rest of the country and how their financial metrics have changed over time. Read on for our insights and analysis.

Millennials Saw Largest Growth in Credit Scores

Even though millennial credit scores have grown more than any other generations' in the past five years, they still lag considerably behind—with an average credit score that is less than the national average. Millennials' average FICO® Score in Q2 2019 was 668—that's 35 points below the national average of 703, according to Experian data.

Compared with the generation that came before them—Generation X—millennial credit scores trail by just 20 points. But next to baby boomers, who have an average credit score of 731, millennials need to add 63 points to their score average to close the gap.

Despite having the second-lowest average credit score of any generation, millennials saw their scores increase the most over the past five years. Since Q2 2015, the average millennial credit score jumped 3% from 651 to 668, according to Experian data. Both Generation X and the baby boom generation saw their scores jump 2% during the same period, while the silent generation's scores only increased by less than half a percent.

Generation Z was not included in this analysis because nearly half of the generation was not old enough to obtain credit in 2015.

Millennials Saw Biggest Increase in Debt in the Past Five Years

At the same time millennial scores have increased, so has their debt—and it's happening across all debt products. Debt and credit scores often increase in tandem—as evidenced by baby boomers, who maintain some of the highest debt levels and also some of the highest credit scores.

Since Q2 2015, millennial debt across nearly every debt product has grown more than any other generation. Overall, the generation's total average debt grew 58% in the past five years. Over this same period, their credit card debt has increased 40%, personal loan debt is up 35%, auto loans have gone up 11% and student loan debt has increased 33%.

Minnesota Maintains Highest Millennial Credit Scores

Minnesota remained the state with the highest millennial credit scores, keeping its position since our earlier analysis of Experian data from Q4 2018. Millennials in the state had an average FICO® Score of 700—higher than the national millennial average by 32 points.

In total, millennials in 30 states had average credit scores that were higher than the national millennial average. This indicates that the scores among the other 21 states are low enough to pull the whole generation's average down on a national scale.

Millennial consumers in Minnesota had the highest average scores in Q2 2019, followed by Washington, D.C.; Massachusetts; North Dakota and Washington state.

States With the Highest Millennial Credit Scores
StateAverage Score 2015Average Score 2019Five-Year Change
District of Columbia6796992.95%
North Dakota6806952.21%

*Source: Experian data is from Q2 of each year. Credit score data is specific to millennial consumers.

Michigan Millennials See Most Improvement in Credit Scores

Millennials overall increased their scores by 3% since 2015, but members of the generation in some states outperformed the national trend. Michigan millennials saw the highest increase, raising their scores by 3.4%—22 points—in the five-year period.

Michigan was one of seven states to see an increase higher than 3%. It was followed by Oregon, Wisconsin, Washington and New Mexico as the top five states with the largest improvement during the five-year period.

States Where Millennials Had the Highest Improvement in Credit Scores
StateAverage Score 2015Average Score 2019Five-Year Change
New Mexico6236433.21%

*Source: Experian data is from Q2 of each year. Credit score data is specific to millennial consumers.

Mississippi Maintains Lowest Millennial Credit Scores

In line with the national trend across all generations, Mississippi was home to the millennials with the lowest scores in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. Millennials' average FICO® Score in the state was 625—78 points lower than the overall national average, 45 points lower than the national average among millennials and 42 points lower than the state's national average across all generations.

Mississippi millennials were followed by those in Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas, which made up the five states with the lowest credit scores.

States With the Lowest Millennial Credit Scores
StateAverage Score 2015Average Score 2019Five-Year Change
South Carolina6246382.24%

*Source: Experian data is from Q2 of each year. Credit score data is specific to millennial consumers.

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.