The Cities with Residents with the Most and Least Debt will Surprise You

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In its latest Credit Trends study, global information services company Experian® today released an analysis of current debt levels and credit scores in the top 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas1. The results of the study show that of the cities examined, Detroit, Mich., residents have the lowest average debt2 ($23,604) and thatDallas, Texas, residents have the highest average debt ($28,240).



Additionally, the study compared the current debt to the debt from four years ago and found that Detroit has decreased its average debt by 7.1 percent and the Dallas’ debt amounts have increased by 7.8 percent since 2010.

Nationally, the average debt has increased by 5 percent compared to four years ago and the national average VantageScore®credit score remained consistent and has held steady at 665. The national averages for 2014 and 2010 are listed below:




2014 national averages
Average VantageScore credit score 665
Average debt $25,927
2010 national averages
Average VantageScore credit score 665
Average debt $24,678



“There is a lot more behind the numbers than meets the eye – 19 of the cities had increases in their debt amounts, which could actually be signaling a recovery pattern as credit lending is opening up and consumers are becoming more confident,” saidMichele Raneri, Experian’s vice president of analytics. “Detroit, while being the only city to decrease its average debt, is also showing signs of recovery amid the unemployment and economic pressures the city is experiencing.”



In the 20 cities analyzed, the lowest debt numbers following Detroit come from Los Angeles, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; New York, N.Y.; and Boston, Mass. The cities with the highest amounts of debt following Dallas include Houston, Texas; Washington, D.C.;Seattle, Wash.; and Baltimore, Md. An infographic is also available that visually represents the 20 cities and their current debt levels.



Below is the listing of current rankings according to each of the cities’ average debt levels:



Cities ranked by lowest debt to highest debt
Metropolitan statistical area Average
debt per
Average VantageScore credit score
1.     Detroit $23,604 667
2.     Los Angeles $24,361 658
3.     Miami $24,884 648
4.     New York $25,396 678
5.     Boston $25,413 694
6.     Tampa, Fla. $25,537 658
7.     Minneapolis, Minn. $25,626 702
8.     San Francisco, Calif. $25,828 689
9.     Philadelphia, Pa. $26,128 672
10.   San Diego, Calif. $26,423 666
11.   Chicago, Ill. $26,429 670
12.   St. Louis, Mo. $26,721 673
13.   Atlanta, Ga. $26,940 646
14.   Denver, Colo. $27,090 675
15.   Phoenix, Ariz. $27,267 654
16.   Baltimore $27,271 662
17.   Seattle $27,279 679
18.   Washington, D.C. $27,668 674
19.   Houston $28,105 648
20.   Dallas $28,240 648


Other key highlights found in this study include:

  • San Diego residents increased their credit scores from 662 to 666 and had the highest increase in average debt with an 11 percent increase from $23,797 to $26,423
  • Minneapolis residents have the highest credit scores in the study with an average score of 702, which increased by two points since 2010
  • Phoenix had the highest boost to its average credit score with an increase of seven points compared to 2010 — from 647 to 654.



“While it is interesting to compare these cities to one another, what studies such as this really help us do is shine a light on the importance of using credit wisely,” said Maxine Sweet, Experian’s vice president of public education. “Experian created to help you learn more about credit reports and credit scores so you can take the right steps to strengthen your financial well-being.”



Additional data resources



  • Experian hosts a #CreditChat on Twitter every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time with consumer credit experts Maxine Sweet and Rod Griffin. Follow @Experian_US to join in.
  • View the latest infographics and read about Experian’s perspective on trends and news at our Experian News Blog.
  • Consumers are welcome to ask their credit questions on our Facebook page at
  • For answers to common questions, advice and education about consumer credit, you can visit Experian’s one-stop resource at



Analysis methodology

The analysis is based on a statistically relevant sampling of depersonalized data from Experian’s consumer credit database from February 2014 and September 2010. VantageScore 3.0 was the credit score used in this study. The VantageScore 3.0 model’s range is 300 – 850.



About VantageScore Solutions

VantageScore Solutions, LLC ( is the independently managed company that owns the intellectual property rights to the VantageScore credit scoring models, including the recently announced VantageScore 3.0 model which provides up to 25 percent predictive improvement over earlier models and has the ability to formulate a score for 30 – 35 million previously unscoreable consumers. Initially developed by America’s three national credit reporting companies (CRCs) — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — VantageScore Solutions’ highly predictive models use an innovative, patented and patent-pending scoring methodology that provides lenders and consumers with more consistent credit scores across all three national credit reporting companies.



About Experian

Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2013, was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.



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