WalletHub Report Ranks Most and Least Financially Literate States
Which state has the most financially literate citizens? A new report from the personal finance site WalletHub attempts to answer that question by ranking all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) based on a number of data points and criteria.
In order to compile its list, WalletHub scored states in three different categories. First, it used data from its WalletLiteracy survey, which has garnered more than 39,000 responses to date. Next, the Financial Planning & Habits (FPH) category included median credit score, share of adults who spend more than they earn, share of adults with emergency funds, and more. Finally, the Financial Knowledge & Education (FKE) section factored in high school financial literacy grade, public high school graduation rate, share of adults using online financial services, etc. These components were then used to give each state a score between zero and 100.
Topping the overall list with a score of 69.06 was Nebraska. While the Cornhusker State placed 30th for the WalletLiteracy portion, it was buoyed by a third-place finish for Financial Planning & Habits and seventh-place ranking for Financial Knowledge & Education. With a score of 68.54, Utah placed second overall and second for FPH.
Meanwhile, Virginia placed first for FPH and third overall with a score of 68.41. Colorado (68.40) and Minnesota (67.86) rounded out the top five. Notably, Minnesota also topped the WalletLiteracy category while Colorado came in second. Meanwhile, Maine — which finished in eighth-place overall — was number one in the Financial Knowledge & Education category.
On the opposite end of the list, Arkansas’s 51.00 score landed it in 51st place. The Natural State ranked 45th for both WalletLiteracy and FPH while finishing 50th for FKE. Also occupying the end of the list were Louisiana (53.18), New Mexico (54.13), Oklahoma (54.24), and Mississippi (55.56). As for the individual categories, Mississippi was last for WalletLiteracy, Alaska (which ranked 40th overall) was last for FPH, and 46th overall-placed Kentucky was 51st for FKE.
Ultimately, while WalletHub’s report shows where greater financial education may be most needed, the truth is that many Americans could benefit from improving their financial literacy. Although there are many free resources (including WalletHub itself) now available, it can be difficult for consumers to know where to turn for this information. With that, hopefully states can help the next generation by increasing the financial education curriculum while other public service efforts can lead adults toward information that they too can learn from.