The Best and Worst States For Debt: Is Your State On Our List?

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Credit Sesame uncovered the best and worst states for debt in 2017, based on Credit Sesame’s member database. While these numbers don’t reflect all debts, the results are eye-opening.

We examined roughly 12 million accounts, or types of debts, including credit utilization, and housing prices.

What are the best and worst states for debt?

Included in our analysis are car loans, mortgages, credit utilization ratios, average credit card debt and student loan debt.

Washington and Massachusetts fared well in credit utilization and average credit card debt, but they placed worst for mortgage debt.  Louisiana placed thrice on the worst states for debt: car loans, utilization and credit cards.

The Worst States For Debt
Car Loan DebtTexas ($22,917)
Alaska ($22,267)
New Mexico ($22,202)
Wyoming ($21,708)
Louisiana ($21,365)
Mortgage DebtDistrict of Columbia ($368,695)
California ($367,271)
Hawaii ($332,141)
Washington ($271,771)
New Jersey ($252,276)
Credit Utilization RatiosIndiana (52%)
Mississippi (40%)
Arkansas (38%)
West Virginia (38%)
Louisiana (38%)
Alaska (38%)
Average CC DebtIndiana ($5,250)
Alaska ($4,348)
West Virginia ($3,565)
Arkansas ($3,386)
Louisiana ($3,270)
Mississippi ($2,949)
Student Loan DebtDistrict of Columbia ($47,331)
Maryland ($40,473)
Georgia ($39,720)
South Carolina ($36,865)
Virginia ($36,828)

The states with the worst mortgage numbers are somewhat expected: District of Columbia, California and Hawaii. Not only do these states have a higher cost of living on average, but real estate prices have skyrocketed in recent years.

Planning to take on debt for college? Maybe not if you come from Wyoming, Utah or Rhode Island, which have some of the lowest student loan debt numbers.

The Best States For Debt
Car Loan DebtOregon ($10,705)
Michigan ($14,567)
Rhode Island ($14,825)
Wisconsin ($15,243)
Minnesota ($15,858)
Mortgage DebtWest Virginia ($88,149)
Mississippi ($88,362)
Kentucky ($96,208)
Arkansas ($97,254)
Oklahoma ($107,215)
Credit Utilization RatiosWashington (28%)
District of Columbia (28%)
California (29%)
Massachusetts (29%)
Minnesota (29%)
Average CC DebtMinnesota ($3,795)
California ($3,990)
District of Columbia ($3,994)
Massachusetts ($4,006)
Washington ($4,266)
Student Loan DebtWyoming ($28,303)
Utah ($29,158)
Rhode Island ($29,158)
Montana ($29,801)
Idaho ($29,935)

What is credit utilization?

Utilization is how much revolving debt you have compared to your credit limits. If you have a $1,000 limit and your balance is $500, your utilization ratio is 50%. Since utilization accounts for 30% of your credit score, it’s important to keep it as low as possible. There is no magic number, but the closer to zero, the better. It is very difficult to have an excellent credit score with utilization above 70% or 80%.

What else affects credit score?

Other factors that affect your credit score include your payment history, any derogatory marks or accounts, the average age of your credit accounts (and the age of your oldest account), the variety of credit products you use, and the number of recent applications you’ve made for new credit.


We used data from Credit Sesame and examined the following accounts:
Auto loans: 1.3 million people; 1.6 million loans
Mortgages: 360,000 people; 400,000 loans
Credit cards: 2 million people; 6 million loans (or credit cards)
Student loans: 1 million people; 4 million loans
The total number of accounts are around 12 million.


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