Average Credit Score in America: 2021 Report
The average FICO Score in America is 711 and the average VantageScore stands at 688.
Fair Isaac Corp.’s FICO Score and VantageScore are two of the most widely used scoring models in the country. Both models range between 300 and 850 — and the higher the score, the better. 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 U.S. is at an all-time high of 711. This coincides with what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines as “prime.”
About 1 in 5 American adults either have no credit history (“credit invisible”) or are unscorable. As a result, these 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 individual’s credit score, the lower their quoted APR will typically be.
FICO credit scores break down in the following manner:
- 800 to 850: Exceptional
- 740 to 799: Very good
- 670 to 739: Good
- 580 to 669: Fair
- 300 to 579: Very poor
This means the average credit score of 711 is in the good range.
Though the average credit score has generally improved since 2005, slight dips were seen around the Great Recession that ended in 2009. A large number of people declaring bankruptcy or defaulting on their loans would have caused their credit scores to plummet, which in turn would have affected the overall average.
Average credit score by age
Millennials (ages 24 to 39) have an average credit score of 680, while baby boomers (ages 56 to 74) have an average credit score of 736.
The average FICO Score tends to improve with age.
The average credit scores coincide with the financial situations facing younger generations. It’s usually around the millennial age range that major expenses and debt begin to rack up — such as weddings and first mortgages, among others. Despite their ages, millennials hold an average of $4,322 in credit card debt.
The other age group whose average credit score skews lower is Generation Z (ages 18 to 23). A contributing factor to this is 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 don’t begin building a credit file until later in life — driving averages down.
Americans of all ages owe debt. In fact, U.S. household debt spiked to $14.35 trillion in the third quarter of 2020 — the latest available data — amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And that debt is growing while more people remain out of work. The federal unemployment rate was 3.5% in February 2020 before spiking to 14.8% in April 2020. (It’s been dropping but was still at 6.7% in December 2020.)
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 doesn’t play a direct role in determining one’s credit score, it does have an indirect one. One of the factors lenders consider when modeling an individual’s credit risk is their credit utilization — the percentage of total available credit a consumer is using month to month.
To improve one’s credit score, credit utilization should generally 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 their line of credit is likely to be.
In turn, by having significantly lower credit limits, it becomes easier for lower-income individuals to eat up a larger portion of what’s available, increasing their credit utilization.
The graphic below shows that median credit scores are highly correlated to income.
- Low income: Up to 50% of the area median income
- Moderate income: Greater than 50% and up to 80% of the area median income
- Medium income: Greater than 80% and up to 120% of the area median income
- High income: More than 120% of the area median income
Aside from the ability to make monthly payments on time, which may be difficult, people with lower incomes have access to less credit, meaning their credit utilization would be higher with smaller debt. This, in turn, lowers credit scores, which can, in turn, lower credit availability.
Average credit scores throughout the U.S.
The lowest credit scores in America can be found in the South: Mississippi (675), Louisiana (684) and Alabama (686). Meanwhile, Minnesota (739) and Wisconsin (732) have the highest average score among U.S. states.
|Rank||State||Average credit score||Average credit card debt|
|30||District of Columbia||713||$5,671|
These were the states where at least 40% of the population was considered subprime:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Average credit score of homebuyers
The average credit score of homebuyers across the 50 states and the District of Columbia is 731. We used LendingTree data to look at the average credit score of homebuyers who took out 30-year, fixed-rate loans between January and December 2020.
The average credit score was highest in the District of Columbia (754) and Hawaii (748), and lowest in Alabama (713) and Michigan and New Mexico (both 718).
|Rank||State||Average credit score|
|1||District of Columbia||754|