I read a complex, detailed analysis explaining why more people in The South and certain other counties in California, Nevada and a few other random counties in North and South Dakota, etc. have the lowest credit scores in the United States.
It has nothing to do with race (which was super analyzed every which way).
Here are the two main reasons, with the first reason being the greatest and most common one:
- MEDICAL DEBT
The inability to pay large medical bills that turn into collections and then devastate the credit score is Number 1.
But wait, didn’t the credit bureaus remove unpaid medical bills from credit reports?
Yes, but only those bills not over $500. More folks in The South have large medical bills exceeding that amount than people in the North. With the North getting this advantage and the South not, the gap becomes even greater. OUCH!
Now we ask, why are the Southerners hit with more and larger unpaid medical bills?
Could it be a combination of unhealthy eating and lack of physical exercise?
In King County, Washington state, where I live, we are known for hiking, biking, outdoor sports and recreation, as well as healthy eating habits. (People here eat whole wheat bread, brown rice, steamed veggies, and avoid fried foods. I’ve never seen a restaurant menu that includes poutines, paczki.) Maybe that’s a clue for better health and fewer medical bills.
The other factor is that states in the South have not adopted expanded Medicaid to take care of medical bills like most Northern states. This makes for a double-whammy: less healthy lifestyle results in more medical issues and then not as much help receiving financial assistance.
2. AUTOMOBILE/SUV/TRUCK LOANS
According to people who live in the South, in certain areas, it’s common to see three, four, and five vehicles for one household. That adds up to a lot of automobile loans. But even worse…
These people feel like they need to sport expensive vehicles. You’ll see someone in a mobile home with a $70,000 car or truck. It’s horrifying!
Why do they feel the pressure to be seen in a fancy ride they truly cannot afford and that is (1) ruining their debt ratio and lowering their credit scores, and (2) disqualifying them to purchase a home which would increase their wealth and credit rating?
I’ll tell you something personal.
I would be embarrassed to own a vehicle that costs $50,000; $70,000; or higher. Why? Because it would be like wearing a sign that says I care more about social status than about caring for others. Why should I throw away money to puff up my own ego and then ignore the poor? My 7-year old Honda gets me places just as well as someone else’s $100,000 Tesla.
If I were a multi-millionaire, which I am not, I don’t think I would want to flaunt my money anyway. I would think about how many more children in Ethiopia I could send to school so they break the chain of poverty.
I would love it if you would weigh in on this topic by hitting the Comment button.
If you would like to read the original article and see the map regarding low credit scores in the South and other random counties, see The Washington Post article, “Why the South has such low credit scores” by Andrew Van Dam here
For a guide on how to repair your credit like the pros, see here.