How do the credit scores of residents of Virginia’s Arlington stack up against those of other Arlingtons across the country? A new data analysis provides answers.
The median FICO credit score of Arlington residents is 754, according to new figures from Wallet Hub, which looked at credit scoring in nearly 2,600 U.S. communities.
That puts Arlington in the 87th percentile nationally and 334th out of the 2,572 communities surveyed.
Pretty good, but not as good as Arlington (Mass.) at 772, which ranked 49th nationally, and Arlington Heights (Ill.) at 763, which ranked 170th.
On the other hand, Virginia’s 26 square miles of paradise scored higher than Arlington (Wash.), which at 727 was 917th nationally in terms of median FICO score; Arlington (Tenn.), which at 720 was 1,066th; and Arlington (Texas), which at 670 was 2,106th.
(Of these and other Arlingtons across the fruited plain, only Texas’s Arlington is bigger than Virginia’s, population-wise. But of course, everything is bigger in Texas.)
To throw in one more community and one more letter at the front, Darlington (S.C.) residents had a median credit score of 630, ranking 2,521st nationally.
Keep in mind that it’s not a competition.
“Credit scores aren’t solely a reflection of responsibility – it’s possible to have your credit score drop due to financial hardship that’s out of your control,” Wallet Hub analysts noted.
“Fortunately, research shows that the average American actually increased their credit score in 2021, which shows that people are making smart financial decisions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the said.
(Find the full survey at https://wallethub.com/edu/credit-score-by-city/86509.)
Across the nation, the highest credit scores among the communities in the ranking were turned in by The Villages (Fla.) at 806; Sun City West (Ariz.) at 792; Oro Valley (Ariz.) at 789; Santa Monica (Calif.) also at 789; and Laguna Woods (Calif.) at 788.
San Francisco (755), Seattle (752) and Honolulu (747) were the highest among large U.S. cities.
On the other end of the scale, Glendale (Ariz.) had the lowest median FICO score, at 517. New Orleans (552) was second overall and worst among big cities.
How did other Northern Virginia localities shape up? From the data:
• Vienna had a median FICO score of 772, placing it in the 98th percentile nationally and in 49th overall place.
• McLean’s median score of 765 put it in the 95th percentile and 138th place.
• Fairfax City’s median score of 756 put it in the 88th percentile and 300th place.
• Leesburg’s median score of 750 put it in the 83rd percentile and 428th place.
• Falls Church’s median score of 743 put it in the 78th percentile and 568th place.
What tips do the experts have for a person trying to increase their credit score in a short amount of time?
“The most important thing a person can do is check and correct any errors,” said Ryan Law, a faculty member of Utah Valley University and director of its Money Management Resource Center.
“About 20 percent of credit reports contain an error that could affect a person’s credit score, so getting those errors fixed is important,” he said. “After correcting errors, the best things a person can do is pay their credit bills on time (which accounts for 35 percent of a score) and keep their balances low (which accounts for 30 percent of a score).”
FICO is the trade name of a firm founded in the 1950s as Fair, Isaac & Co. (hence the acronym) to provide data-analytics services. It uses various proprietary methods of analyzing a person’s credit-worthiness. FICO scores are accessed by American lenders to the tune of billions of times per year.