Why Massachusetts Is First in Financial Literacy

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Massachusetts is the most financially literate state, based on a study by WalletHub that evaluated all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their financial savviness.

Northeastern states occupy four of the top five spots: Massachusetts (1), New Hampshire (2), Connecticut (3) and New Jersey (5) are joined in the top echelon by Minnesota (4).

Also in the top 10 are northeastern states Rhode Island (9) and New York (10).

Mississippi ranks as the least financially savvy state on the list. Six of the bottom 10 states are in the South: Mississippi (51), Arkansas (50), Louisiana (45), Georgia (44), South Carolina (43) and Tennessee (42).

To determine the financially savviest states, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 metrics that represent financial acumen. The data set ranges from median credit score to annual savings-account average to credit-card debt as a share of income.

Among key takeaways from the report were the following:

  • Massachusetts has the lowest share of adults spending more than they earn, 13.29%, which is 1.7 times lower than in Delaware, the state with the highest at 22.67%.
  • Massachusetts also had the highest median credit score, and Mississippi had the lowest.
  • New York has the lowest median debt per person (as a share of median earnings), 25.76%, more than three times lower than in Idaho, the state with the highest at 84.54%. The top five in this category are all from the northeast.
  • Colorado has the lowest foreclosure rate, 0.2%, which is 14 times lower than in New Jersey, the state with the highest at 2.8%.
  • Hawaii has the lowest annual housing and utilities expenditures per capita (as a share of the median home price), 1.51%, which is 2.8 times lower than in Michigan, the state with the highest at 4.22%.
  • North Dakota has the highest share of adults with rainy-day funds, 55.55%, which is 1.5 times higher than in West Virginia, the state with the lowest at 37.94%.
  • North Dakota also has the lowest delinquency rate on mortgages, auto loans, student loans and credit cards. New Mexico had the highest delinquency rate.