How in Debt Are We, Rochester?
Let’s face it, Americans are in debt. Nationwide, it’s an epidemic. According to a recent story on the financial education and empowerment website NerdWallet, “the average American has $26,246 in non-mortgage debt” including nearly $4,000 in credit card debt.
It all seems pretty ambiguous when you think about the problem with a big picture view. So, where do Rochester’s residents rank in terms of our debt load?
NerdWallet recently did a study to find out how various cities rank in terms of per capita debt (the average amount of debt per city resident). The study looked at 265 cities across the country, using factors including credit scores, consumer debt, credit card debt, percentage of income used to pay mortgages, and other factors.
The result? Rochester did really well, ranking #9 on the list. There were several factors playing in Rochester’s favor, according to Courtney Miller, a data analyst at NerdWallet. “Rochester’s higher per capita income and lower cost of living are keys to the city’s high ranking,” Miller said. She cited having Mayo Clinic as our major employer as another major factor, offering higher paying jobs and a more educated labor force and general population.
“Higher average credit scores also positively affected Rochester’s rank,” Miller added. Higher credit scores allow borrowers to qualify for loans at lower interest rates, which helps keep their debt lower.
Rochester wasn’t the only city in the area to score well. Austin, Minnesota, just missed out on making the top 10, finishing at #11 in the survey. In general, the Midwest fared really well, as the region grabbed 8 of the top 10 spots.
Some of the more general takeaways from the study were that expensive cities can put a strain on finances, leading people into deeper debt more quickly, that the Midwest is generally good at keeping their debt in control, and that lower credit scores and higher debt ratios led to the revelation that the South has the biggest debt troubles.