Average Credit Score in America: 2017 Facts & Figures

The average FICO score in America is 695 and the average Vantage score stands at 673. Currently, Fair Isaac Corp's FICO score and Vantage are two of the most widely used scoring models in the country. Both models range between 300 and 850 - the higher the score, the better. Due to the high economic diversity within the U.S., the average credit score varies greatly among different populations, ages, and income levels, some of which are explored below.

What Is The Average Credit Score In America?

The average credit score in the United States is currently at an all-time high of 695. Though different scoring models exist, which cause this figure to fluctuate by a few points, most fall between 660 to 720. This coincides with what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines as 'prime' - an average score. Approximately 14% of the population has no credit score whatsoever, and is labeled as credit invisible. As a result, these underbanked individuals will have difficulty obtaining new lines of credit.

In the eyes of lenders, credit scores fall into several buckets, which indicate how risky it may be to extend credit to an individual. Outside of playing a role in approvals for a loan or credit, these scores can also impact an individual's lending terms. Perhaps the most important terms among those are interest rates. The higher an individuals credit score, the lower their quoted APR will typically be.

Credit scores typically break down in the following manner:

  • 720 or more: Excellent
  • 660 - 719: Average/Fair
  • 620 - 659: Poor
  • 620 or lower: Bad
YearAverage Credit ScoreSubprime Credit Scores (<620)Near Prime Credit Scores (620 - 680)Prime credit scores (680+)
2015 695 N/A N/A N/A
2014 693 34.2% 16.9% 48.9%
2013 691 35.2% 16.5% 48.3%
2012 690 35.7% 15.5% 48.8%
2011 690 36.3% 15.3% 48.4%
2010 687 36.8% 14.9% 48.3%
2009 687 36.8% 14.6% 48.6%
2008 690 36.7% 14.7% 48.6%
2007 690 36.7% 15.3% 48.0%
2006 690 36.7% 15.8% 47.5%
2005 688 36.9% 16.1% 47.0%

Though the average credit score has been generally improving, a slight dip occurred around the time of the 2009/2010 recession. A large number of people declaring bankruptcy or defaulting on their loans would have caused their credit scores to plummet, which in turn would affect the average.

Average Credit Score By Age

One of the biggest differences in credit scores can be seen among different age groups. The average FICO score tends to improve with age. The only anomaly occurs in the 30 to 39 age group. These individuals have the largest population of consumers with a sub-620 credit score. This trend coincides with the financial situation facing many individuals in their 30s. It is usually around this period in one's life that major expenses and debt begin to rack up - weddings, first mortgages, etc. A study of American credit card habits revealed that this age group also faces some of the largest amounts of credit card debt.

The other age group whose average credit score skews lower are those below the age of 30. One contributing factor to this could be the limited access to credit this age group faces. Following the 2009 CARD Act, it became significantly harder for 18 to 21 year olds to open new credit card accounts. As a result, many young adults do not begin building up a credit file until later in their life - driving the averages down.

A graph showing the average credit score by age group.

By the time they hit their late forties, most Americans have a good to excellent FICO score. The average continues to improve the older they get.

Average Credit Score by Income

The higher one's income level, the higher their average credit score tends to be. While debt-to-income ratio does not play a direct role in determining one's credit score, it has an indirect role. One of the factors organizations like FICO consider when modeling an individual's credit risk is their credit utilization - that is what percentage of total available credit a consumer is using month-to-month. Generally, in order to improve one's credit score, credit utilization should be kept below 30%. The lower one's income is, the more a consumer may rely on their credit for their expenditures.

Another way income may play into credit utilization, and ultimately one's credit score, is by determining one's credit limit. Credit issuers look at borrowers incomes when deciding on the amount of revolving credit that should be issued. The lower one's income, the lower line of credit is likely to be. In turn, by having significantly lower credit limits, it becomes easier for low-income individuals to eat up a larger portion of what's available, thus increasing their credit utilization.

The graph below shows the average credit score by an individual's income relative to the median family income (MFI). Individuals surveyed by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank were placed into an income bracket, based on how their earnings compared to the median family income in the Metropolitan Statistical area they resided in - this allowed the survey to control for any outside economic factors throughout different cities.

A bar graph showing the distribution of credit scores by income level.

Average Credit Scores Throughout The United States

Generally speaking, the lowest credit scores in America can be found in the southern states – Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Louisiana. While credit utilization in these states remains low, recent studies have found that these regions have the lowest percent of the population with an open credit card or home equity line of credit. Since 2005, most of the nation experienced a decline in open credit accounts, due to the recession. While the rest of the country has begun to recover, these few states continue to exhibit low numbers.

At the same time, credit health in states like Minnesota and North Dakota has exhibited resilience in the face of economic downturn. The average score in these states was 707 and 700, respectively.

Average Credit Score by State

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently conducted a study into the state and availability of credit throughout the United States. New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida were the only states where over 40% of the population were considered subprime.

Average Credit Score by State
StateAverage ScorePopulation With Declining CreditPopulation with Good/Improved Credit
Alabama 656 18% 82%
Alaska 674 11% 89%
Arizona 674 14% 86%
Arkansas 653 14% 86%
California 677 11% 89%
Colorado 689 11% 89%
Connecticut 684 11% 89%
DC 661 14% 86%
Delaware 665 14% 86%
Florida 669 17% 83%
Georgia 644 18% 82%
Hawaii 691 10% 90%
Idaho 680 10% 90%
Illinois 679 11% 89%
Indiana 666 12% 88%
Iowa 686 10% 90%
Kansas 674 10% 90%
Kentucky 656 15% 85%
Louisiana 650 18% 82%
Maine 671 11% 89%
Maryland 667 13% 87%
Massachusetts 694 10% 90%
Michigan 678 11% 89%
Minnesota 707 9% 91%
Mississippi 642 19% 81%
Missouri 674 14% 86%
Montana 684 10% 90%
Nebraska 692 9% 91%
Nevada 658 16% 84%
New Hampshire 690 11% 89%
New Jersey 671 11% 89%
New Mexico 648 18% 82%
New York 692 11% 89%
North Carolina 660 16% 84%
North Dakota 700 7% 93%
Ohio 679 13% 87%
Oklahoma 660 17% 83%
Oregon 682 11% 89%
Pennsylvania 691 11% 89%
Rhode Island 672 11% 89%
South Carolina 655 20% 80%
South Dakota 697 8% 92%
Tennessee 666 17% 83%
Texas 657 18% 82%
Utah 678 9% 91%
Vermont 677 10% 90%
Virginia 679 11% 89%
Washington 682 10% 90%
West Virginia 660 13% 87%
Wisconsin 698 9% 91%
Wyoming 671 10% 90%

Because the current standing paints a frozen snapshot in time of a community's credit score, it is perhaps more revealing to look at the trajectory of credit scores. From this perspective, the same states appear to be underperforming as compared to the national average. In South Carolina, for example, 20% of the population was reported as having weak, struggling, or declining credit situations - that is had a credit bill that was 60 days or more overdue. Mississippi came in at a close second with 19%.

Average Credit Score of Home Buyers

The typical credit score of a homebuyer is 728 - slightly higher than the national average. Of the 85,369 mortgage applicants surveyed by the Federal Reserve, only 6.8% had scores below 620.

In 2010, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank published a report on the credit circumstances of home borrowers. The data broke down the average credit scores of borrowers based on their minority status. All groups except for Black and African American consumers had average credit scores above 700. Asian borrowers saw the highest average score FICO of 745.

GroupAverage Credit Score of Home Buyer% of Borrowers with Score < 620
Asian 745 2.60%
Black or African American 677 21.30%
Hispanic white 701 11.20%
Non-Hispanic White 734 5.40%
All others 732 6.30%
U.S. Average 728 6.80%
Sources:

Comments and Questions