Credit scores are increasingly on the minds of many Americans. As the costs of essential goods and services rise, Americans may find that their incomes aren’t sufficient to finance their daily expenses.1
Lenders use credit scores to guide their determinations of how much credit to extend to borrowers. Lenders also use credit scores to set interest rates on credit products. The better an individual’s credit score, the more likely they’ll receive more attractive credit options.
This article examines Americans’ credit scores and how they differ by demographic factors. We’ll also explore recommended strategies Americans can implement to boost their credit scores.
The Average FICO Credit Score in America is 716
Lenders primarily use FICO scores to inform credit-issuance decisions. FICO scores are dynamic and change as consumer behaviors fluctuate. Comparing average annual FICO scores can provide insights into the relative financial health of Americans.
The average FICO score in America is 716, the same average score FICO reported for the prior year. 2022 was the first time that average FICO scores did not increase in recent years.2
In addition to announcing the average FICO score has remained static year over year, FICO reported the following credit details:
- There has been a small increase in missed payments.
- Levels of consumer debt have modestly increased.
- Consumers are obtaining new credit at an increased rate.
The Average VantageScore in America is 696
VantageScore credit scores provide lenders with another measure of evaluating consumer creditworthiness. VantageScore calculates scores for approximately 96% of consumers age 18 or older.3
The average national VantageScore is 696, representing a slight decline from the prior year’s average score of 697. Though the average score has declined, a VantageScore of 696 is relatively high from a historical perspective.4
VantageScore monitors consumer credit activity over time and has reported key findings with its release of the average national VantageScore:
- Consumers have been missing auto loan payments at an increased rate.
- Credit card balances and utilization rates have risen.
- The rate of new credit card openings slightly declined during the holiday shopping season in 2022.
The Average Credit Score by Age
Credit scores tend to change as an individual’s need to access credit waxes and wanes throughout life’s stages. According to Experian data, the average credit score in 2022 of adults ages 23 to 99 was 714.5
Members of Generation Z, or those between the ages of 18 and 25, have the lowest credit scores among generations at 679. The Silent Generation, comprising individuals 77 years old or older, receives the highest marks with an average credit score of 760.
The most significant difference in credit scores from one generation to the next occurs between Generation X and baby boomers. The average baby boomer’s credit score is 36 points higher than the average credit score for Generation X consumers.
Here are the average credit score figures for Generation Z through the Silent Generation:
|Generation Z (18-25)||679||679|
|Generation X (42-57)||705||706|
|Baby boomers (58-76)||740||742|
|Silent Generation (77+)||760||760|
Generation Z and the Silent Generation saw their average credit scores remain the same from 2021 to 2022, while the baby boomers netted the biggest yearly score increase.
The Average Credit Score by State
An individual’s credit score can be influenced by where they live. Factors such as income levels can ultimately affect the amount of credit someone has access to.
Minnesota residents have the highest credit scores in the US. The average credit score of 742 for Minnesota consumers is 28 points higher than the national average of 714. FICO considers credit scores from 740 to 799 to be very good. Minnesota is the only state to average a very good credit score.
Minnesotans also had a median income of $77,706 in 2021, which is nearly 10% higher than the national median income of $70,784.6,7
Here are the average credit scores for each state:
|State||Average Credit Score||State||Average Credit Score|
|District of Columbia||716||North Dakota||733|
Coincidentally, the residents of the state that follows Minnesota alphabetically, Mississippi, have the lowest average credit scores among all states. Mississippians average a credit score of 680, which is 34 points below the national average. Nearly 1 out of every 5 Mississippi residents lives in poverty.8
Alaska residents saw their average credit scores jump by six points year over year, which is more than any other state. On the other end of the spectrum, Connecticut residents saw their average credit scores decline by three points year over year, the largest drop of any state in the country.5
The Average Credit Score by Race
Studies have shown that credit scores can vary by race. There are a few explanations for why credit scores can differ by race, including:
- Income. The more money a person earns, the more likely they will have higher credit scores. The U.S. Census Bureau reports disparities in income levels by race.9
- Access to conventional financial products. Alternative lenders don’t report credit-related activity to credit bureaus at the same rates as conventional lenders, so individuals using alternative lenders may not see their on-time payments help their credit scores.
- Trust in banks. Those who trust banks are more likely to use their products, and maintaining a deposit account with a bank is a crucial step on the path to becoming an active borrower. Black and Hispanic Americans hold bank accounts at lower rates than white and Asian Americans.10
Here are the average credit scores by race:
|Race||Median Credit Score|
Native Americans have the lowest median credit score. But, they also are likely to have limited access to conventional sources of credit, which can hinder establishing and building credit.11
The Average Credit Score by Income
Income is not a factor in calculating credit scores, but studies have shown there is a correlation between credit scores and income.12
Here are the median credit scores categorized by household income levels:
|Annual Income||Median Credit Score|
High-income households have higher median credit scores for a variety of reasons. Namely, high-income households have a greater ability to regularly make on-time payments to accounts listed on their credit reports, keeping their revolving balances at zero or close to zero. Earning a high income also affords people more opportunities to borrow as lenders perceive they can make payments on their credit cards and loan products.
On the other hand, low-income households may have difficulty obtaining access to credit. Using credit cards regularly can be a fast route to establishing a credit history, but only half of all low-income households have access to a credit card.13
Steps to Improve Your Credit Score
If you want to improve your credit score, there is good news — with careful planning and diligent execution, anyone can improve their credit score over time. Here are some practical strategies you can follow to help you boost your credit score:
- Vet your current credit report. Before taking steps to improve your credit score, review your credit reports and ensure they’re accurate. No, this doesn’t mean you need to obtain a doctorate in mathematics and calculate the score yourself. But, you can review your credit reports to make sure there aren’t any errors or signs of fraudulent activity. You can order your credit reports for free from the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion — from annualcreditreport.com. Disputing any errors with each of the bureaus will help you establish a solid foundation for improving your credit score.
- Don’t close old credit accounts. If you’re looking to make a fresh start in building your credit, it can be tempting to close old credit accounts. But, maintaining old credit accounts can work in your favor. Old accounts lengthen your credit history, even if you no longer use them or they’re paid in full.
- Don’t apply for new credit accounts. The third strategy on this list goes hand-in-hand with the second one. Opening new lines of credit can decrease the length of your credit history. Also, applying for new lines of credit may trigger a hard credit inquiry. Hard inquiries can damage your credit score. If you must apply for a new line of credit, do so on a limited basis. Only apply for the credit products that are absolutely necessary.
- Keep credit utilization rates under 30%. Your credit utilization rate equals the dollar amount of revolving credit you’re using divided by the total amount of credit available to you. Keeping your credit utilization under 30% can signal to lenders that you’re a responsible borrower, only using the amount of credit you need.14 You can follow two approaches to keep your credit utilization under 30%. The first is to monitor the amount of credit you are using to ensure you keep your utilization rate at healthy levels with respect to your credit limit. The second is to request your credit issuer raise your credit limit. Higher credit limits will automatically lower your credit utilization rate if you’re carrying a balance.
- Make payments on time. Credit scores consider a borrower’s payment history, including whether payments are made on time and in full. Get into the practice of paying credit card balances in full each month. Reconsider purchasing items on credit if you don’t believe you’ll be able to pay them off in a reasonable amount of time. Not only can late payments damage your credit score, but credit card interest rates can cause balances that aren’t paid in full to quickly balloon.
- Monitor your credit. Ordering and reviewing your credit reports shouldn’t be a one-time event. Make it a habit to regularly check your credit reports. Doing so can help you stay on top of any fraudulent activity, including identity theft, that can impact you and your credit. Also, regular reviews of your credit report can help you evaluate how effective your strategies to better your credit profile have been.15
Improving your credit score takes discipline and patience — it isn’t something you should expect will happen overnight. But, by implementing these strategies, Americans can grow their credit scores and open doors to a brighter financial future.
The main findings of this data are:
- The average FICO score in America is 716. For the first time in recent years, average FICO scores did not increase in 2022.
- The average national VantageScore is 696, a decline from the prior year’s average score.
- The Silent Generation has the highest average credit score — 760 — of all generations.
- Minnesota residents have the highest average credit scores in the US, with an average credit score of 742.
- Mississippi residents have the lowest average credit score, 680, among all states.
- People who identify as Hispanic or white have relatively high credit scores compared with people of other races.
- With a median credit score of 774, America’s high-income households have the highest median credit score in the country.