Hopefully you’re already familiar with your credit score, but if not, you may be wondering how to check your credit score for free. Then, once you do know your score, it’s important to know how it compares to the average American’s.
In the years following the Great Recession, many Americans have had a rocky relationship with credit cards and debt resulting in some lower than average credit scores. Despite this period of turbulence, according to Experian’s 2017 State of Credit Report the average credit score is the highest it’s been since 2012.
Before we get into the national averages, it’s good to have a baseline understanding of the credit score range and what is considered a good credit score. Scores do vary by provider and whether you’re looking at your FICO score or VantageScore, but here’s a general guideline to follow:
Excellent Credit: 750+
Good Credit: 700-749
Fair Credit: 650-699
Poor Credit: 600-649
Bad Credit: below 600
What Is the Average American’s Credit Score?
The average credit score in the U.S. in 2017 was 675. Average credit scores have been steadily increasing since 2013, meaning Americans are, on average, maintaining their credit better than in years past. Additionally, 2017 is first year there were more Americans with super-high credit scores than super-low credit scores. In 2017 22.3% of Americans fell into the super prime range and 21.2% fell into the deep subprime range.
Despite this, credit card debt is on the rise, especially for younger Americans. The total debt has now surpassed $1 trillion, an all-time high. In order to truly understand how your score compares to the average, it’s helpful to look at averages by demographics like age and location.
Average Credit Scores by Age
Younger age groups tend to have lower credit scores for various reasons, including a lower average age of credit history. But even so, there’s a near 100 point difference from the average credit score of the Silent Generation compared to Gen Z. Interestingly, Gen Z also has significantly less credit cards per person at only an average of 1.4. Compare that to Baby Boomers who each have an average of 3.5 cards.
Here’s a full list of the different generations and their average credit scores and number of credit cards:
Silent Generation (born before 1946)
- 729 average VantageScore
- 3.0 average credit cards
Baby Boomers (born 1947-1966)
- 703 average VantageScore
- 3.5 average credit cards
Gen X (born 1967-1981)
- 658 average VantageScore
- 3.2 average credit cards
Gen Y/Millennials (born 1982-1995)
- 638 average VantageScore
- 2.5 average credit cards
Gen Z (born after 1996)
- 634 average VantageScore
- 1.4 average credit cards
Average Credit Score by State
There are some regional differences in average credit scores across the nation. Minnesota has the highest average credit score at 709 and Mississippi has the lowest at 647. On average, states in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest seem to trend towards higher credit scores, while Southern states tend to fall on the lower end.
Top 10 States with the Highest Average Credit Scores
- Minnesota: 709
- Vermont: 702
- New Hampshire: 701
- South Dakota: 700
- Massachusetts: 699
- North Dakota: 697
- Wisconsin: 696
- Iowa: 695
- Nebraska: 695
- Hawaii: 693
Top 10 States with the Lowest Average Credit Scores
- Mississippi: 647
- Louisiana: 650
- Georgia: 654
- Alabama: 654
- Nevada: 655
- Texas: 656
- Oklahoma: 656
- South Carolina: 657
- Arkansas: 657
- West Virginia: 658
Average Credit Scores by Purchase
You may also be wondering how your credit score compares to averages of people taking out loans for major purchases like buying a home or car. These numbers are by no means the rule, but should help give you an idea of the average:
- 753 – Average credit score of a home buyer
- 713 – Average credit score for a new car loan
- 656 – Average credit score for a used car loan
- 722 – Average credit score to lease a car
If you’re planning to make a large purchase in the near future and need to improve your credit score, seeking assistance from a qualified professional can be a helpful way to get personalized insight and strategies. And if you’re worried about your credit score after seeing the averages, no need to fret! Whether you fall above or below the average, you can always work toward raising your credit score by understanding your credit history and making positive financial decisions.