America's average credit score is 682 — but a lot can depend on where you live.
On a state-by-state level, the average score runs the gamut from 715 in Minnesota to 652 in Mississippi, according to Experian. The credit reporting company, one of the three national credit bureaus along with Equifax and TransUnion, released their State of Credit Report Thursday.
Borrowers in Minnesota, the state that has historically ranked among the best in the Experian report, typically pay their bills early and often, says Rod Griffin, Experian's director of consumer education. "If you're from Minnesota, you tend to make your payments on time, all the time, and you keep your balances on your credit cards lower, on average," he says.
In the south, on the other hand, "it's really, really difficult to pinpoint any one thing, or even group of things, that may be causing those score trends," Griffin says. Lower pay, a less-stable job market and lower education levels, as well as use of and access to banks, are some factors that may contribute to the region's lower scores, he explains.
That said, while scores vary from place to place, no one state fared particularly poorly. Every single state's average score would either be classified as good, meaning likely to be approved for credit at competitive rates, or as fair, meaning they would likely be approved, but not necessarily at the the most attractive rates, according to a breakdown of VantageScore ratings on Experian.com. And, on a year-over-year level, the entire country's credit score has actually increased by two points, the report says.
"We've seen a gradual increase over the last decade, typically two or three points a year," Griffin says, "and that's a trend that's been sustainable and positive."
How does your score compare to your state's average? See how you stack up in the map above — and if you don't know, you can request your free annual credit report from the national credit bureaus.
"Ignorance is bliss, but it's very dangerous," Griffin says, recommending borrowers obtain their free score every year. "It's important because you'll know exactly what's being reported, you can dispute any information you believe is inaccurate, and it can help you identify if you're a victim of fraud or identity theft."