While the average Fico score in the United States is 638, the score between states can vary considerably. Because of the increasing number of auto loans, mortgages and credit card balances, the U.S. seem to have a relatively low national average credit score.
Average score by itself can be misleading, because it doesn’t tell anything about the distribution of Fico scores (See the table below). Another problem with average is that people with ultra-low scores (due to a bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc) drag down the average score un-proportionally to their score (See this example).
A much better gauge of where you fit in is the median Fico score which is currently 723 and has remained exactly the same many years in a row, while the average us Fico scores has actually deteriorated trough the years.
The median Fico score means it’s exactly in the middle: 50% of all Americans have a lower Fico score, while 50% have a higher Fico score. This gives you a much better picture of where you’re standing compared to the rest of the nation.
You’ve probably noticed that those states with the lowest average scores tend to be in the southern half of the country (both the southeast and southwest), while many states in the Midwest and New England have above-average score.
- Mississippi has the lowest credit score at 613 – that’s 25 points below the U.S. average.
- Hawaii has the highest at 660 – which is 22 points above the U.S. average.
- The spread between the lowest and highest state is 47 points.
Another important thing to note is that even the state with the highest average credit score is still 85 points below the median Fico score.
Here is a different view that visually demonstrates the average US Fico scores distribution:
There’s clearly a relationship between age and average Fico scores. While younger individuals have low Fico scores on average, the more matured part of the population has high Fico scores on average.
There is a very good technical reason for this phenomenon. Because younger individuals have shorter credit history and “thinner” credit files, their Fico scores are impacted.
See What Are Good Credit Scores to learn about the impact of your credit score on your financial life.