Credit scores are an assessment of a borrower’s credit-worthiness and often dictate whether a person is able to borrow money and at what rate. Those who do not have a healthy credit history or a robust credit score are classified as sub-prime borrowers.
According to Equifax data compiled by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, 35.7% of all the counties in the country have a third or more of their population with credit scores below 660, which is generally categorized as sub-prime.
(See also: What Affects Your Credit Score)
While there are people with poor credit scores across the country; the problem is chronic in certain states such as Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. States in the Great Plains such as North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota, on the other hand, have larger chunks of their population with healthier credit scores.
Sub-prime borrowers find it difficult to get credit. According to the New York Federal Reserve’s Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, at the end of December 2016, only 8.2% of the $616 billion mortgage originations belonged to those with a credit score lower than 660. That figure hit a 10 year peak of 25.6% during the housing boom in early 2007. (See also: How Bad Is My Credit Score)
Places with the Worst Credit Scores
Even with a tiny population of 416 people (as of 2010), over 60.3% of the population in Kenedy County, Texas has a credit score below 660, placing it at the top in the list of counties with the highest population with subprime credit. It is followed by Apache County, Arizona (55.1%), Allendale County, South Carolina (54.9%), McKinley County, New Mexico (54.7%) and Tunica County, Mississippi (52.8%).
Places with the Least Sub-Prime Borrowers
North Dakota’s Slope County is the place with the least number of people with credit scores lower than 660. Only 1.9% or just 14 people of this small county that has a population of 727 (as of Census 2010) are classified as subprime. Nebraska’s Hooker County, with 4.2% subprime population, comes next, followed by another Nebraskan county of McPherson with 6.3% subprime population and Montana’s Petroleum County (6.5%) and Garfield County (6.6%). (See also: Build Your Credit Score)
With 8 counties with a subprime population in single digits and another 28 with less than 20% subprime population, North Dakota is perhaps the state with fewest people with bad credit. Nearly 68% of the state’s counties have less than 20% population with below 660 in credit score. Nebraska (67.7%) and South Dakota (66.1%) follow closely when it comes to counties with less than 20% subprime population.
Here’s a map to check how your county stands when it comes to quality of credit: