We research all brands listed and may earn a fee from our partners. Research and financial considerations may influence how brands are displayed. Not all brands are included. Learn more.

Published: Nov 16, 2021 3 min read
Aerial view of The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Getty Images

While credit scores hit a record high this year, new data from FICO shows that some parts of the country have made outsized gains while others have fallen short of the trend.

Every state saw its average credit score rise between April 2020 and April 2021. But states in the South and West (including Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada) saw the greatest increases over that period. At the city level, FICO found that metropolitan areas in Florida and California were more likely to see large increases this year, as were cities impacted by the 2008 financial crisis, like Las Vegas and Detroit.

The average credit score in the United States in April 2021 was 716, up from around 686 in 2005. FICO found that states in New England and the upper Midwest have higher scores, on average.

Compared to the entire country, the top 10 states with the highest FICO scores have a population with lower rates of delinquency, fewer people who are using more than 70% of their available credit and fewer people with three or more credit inquiries within the past year.

How are credit scores used?

Credit scores are used by lenders to determine creditworthiness for mortgages, personal loans, student loans, credit cards and more. The three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – calculate credit scores using data from your credit report, which includes information about your history of timely payments, your total debt and other information about your credit history.

The higher your score, the more likely a lender will view you as a reliable borrower and the more likely you are to receive favorable loan terms, like lower interest rates or lower premium payments.

Timely credit card payments, timely bill payments and a low credit utilization rate (using just a small portion of your available credit) can bolster your score, while late payments and using too much of your available credit can lower it. Scores range from 300 to 850.

Cities and states with the highest credit scores

Here are the states and cities leading the rankings this year.

States with the highest average credit scores:

  • Minnesota: 742
  • Vermont: 738
  • Wisconsin: 736
  • North Dakota: 736
  • South Dakota: 735
  • New Hampshire: 735
  • Massachusetts: 735
  • Washington: 734
  • Nebraska: 733
  • Hawaii: 733

Metropolitan areas with the highest average credit scores:

  • San Francisco Bay area: 746
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul area: 743
  • Boston area: 742
  • Nassau-Suffolk, New York: 739
  • Orange County, California: 736
  • Pittsburgh area: 732
  • Denver area: 731
  • San Diego area: 729
  • Washington, D.C., area: 729
  • Chicago area: 725

More from Money:

7 Best Credit Repair Companies of 2021

7 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score Right Now

This Is the Average Credit Score for Every Generation