No Credit: The 10 Worst States To Live in If You’re Hoping to Borrow Money

Mona-Lisa Saperstein from Parks and Recreation begs to borrow money from her father

Mona-Lisa Saperstein from Parks and Recreation begs to borrow money from her father. | NBC

Money’s hard to come by. And if you have a spotty financial past, it can be even harder to get your hands on it. Whether you’re trying to find a job or applying for a credit card, you can easily dig yourself deeper by mishandling your finances. This can impact several areas of your life. Your credit score can drop. Opportunities for mortgages might slip by, and you can end up filing for bankruptcy. All told, it’ll get harder and harder to borrow money when you need to.

And interestingly enough, where you live might actually determine how difficult it is to borrow money. In aggregate, people’s credit histories can have an impact on the prevailing economic situations in certain communities. If nobody can borrow money, nobody can open businesses, for example. Then, there are fewer jobs and fewer opportunities. It can be a cyclical problem.

To get a better look at which areas of the country are specifically suffering from adverse “credit conditions,” CardRatings.com released a study ranking the best and worst states. Its team looked at each state’s average credit scores, foreclosure rates, delinquency rates, unemployment, and bankruptcy data to create a measure of overall “credit conditions.”

From that analysis, here are the worst states in the country for trying to borrow money.

10. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Kicking things off at No. 10 is Oklahoma. The state is situated in an area that isn’t quite the Midwest, not quite the South, and it’s not Texas. As a result, there’s a mixture of factors that lead to bad credit conditions in Oklahoma. “The biggest negatives for Oklahoma are bottom-10 rankings in both average credit score and credit card delinquencies,” the CardRatings.com analysis said.

Tie-8. New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico | iStock.com/alex grichenko

New Mexico tied with Illinois for the eighth/ninth spots on the list. It’s a state that has rather high instances of poverty, as well as many rural areas in which people have a hard time finding work and access to services. Employment, as the analysis says, is one of the big reasons New Mexico was dinged heavily. “At 6.7 percent, New Mexico’s unemployment rate is the second highest in the nation, which no doubt has created credit problems for many of its residents,” according to the report.

Tie-8. Illinois

Snowplow on Chicago streets in blizzard

Snowplow in a blizzard | Pixabay

As mentioned, Illinois tied with New Mexico in terms of overall credit conditions. It’s a bit surprising, given that Illinois isn’t nearly as rural as New Mexico (though it has its rural parts). And it has one of the nation’s largest and most robust cities, Chicago. However, foreclosure rates, bankruptcies, and unemployment data were all within the bottom 10 in the country, dooming Illinois to the list.

7. Tennessee

downtown Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee | iStock.com/Sean Pavone

Tennessee is the first in a slew of states from the South on the list — in fact, all but one in the remaining top seven are south of the Mason-Dixon line. The good news for Tennessee residents is the data weren’t all bad. The analysis really points to one individual category, bankruptcy rates, for the reason why Tennessee makes an appearance. The state’s not great in other categories, but bankruptcies ultimately sank it.

6. Florida

Aerial view of St. Johns River in Florida

Aerial view of St. Johns River in Florida | iStock.com/Arrangements-Photography

Although Florida isn’t a classic Southern state in some ways, it’s located in the same general region. And unfortunately, it suffers from many of the same economic issues. Tennessee had its issues with bankruptcies; Florida has its issues with foreclosures. “Real estate remains a troublesome issue in Florida, where the foreclosure rate is fourth highest in the nation,” the analysis said.

5. Mississippi

Welcome to Mississippi sign

Welcome to Mississippi, home of poor credit options. | iStock.com/Meinzahn

Mississippi, a state that is no stranger to economic strife, lands at No. 5. “Despite having a foreclosure rate which is actually among the 10 lowest in the nation, Mississippi made the bottom 10 by ranking among the 10 worst states in all the other categories, including having the lowest credit score and highest credit card delinquency rate,” the analysis said.

4. Louisiana

Dusk falls over Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, 11 July 2006, almost one year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. For tourists strolling through the French Quarter it's easy to forget that Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans a year ago. The beignets are fresh, trinkets and designer clothes are artfully arranged in shop windows, and hurricanes are spinning in the bars on Bourbon Street. But while the music, food and good times have come back, the crowds have not and the city is struggling to make ends meet while its main industry remains crippled. With more than 10 million visitors a year, tourism was once a 5.5 billion dollar industry in New Orleans, accounting for 40 percent of the city's tax revenues and employing 85,000 people. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

New Orleans, Louisiana | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Louisiana, which neighbors Mississippi, is yet another Southern state that makes the list. Residents of Louisiana do score better than average when it comes to foreclosure rates. But residents’ trouble with credit seems to be the most damning factor. “Louisiana could not overcome an average credit score and a credit card delinquency rate that each rank second-worst in the nation,” the analysis said.

3. Nevada

A residential neighborhood in Las Vegas

A residential neighborhood in Las Vegas | Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

As the last remaining state not located in the South, Nevada lands in third place. Nevada, like New Mexico, is largely rural. Because of that, opportunity can be scarce when it comes to jobs — at least outside of the bigger cities. Credit scores and credit delinquency rates were two big strikes against Nevada. But the biggest, and most damning, were foreclosure rates.

Tie-1. Georgia

Atlanta's skyline at night

Atlanta skyline at night | Foter.com

Sharing the crown for the state with the worst credit conditions is Georgia. The state has a pretty bad bankruptcy rate, according to the analysis. Also, Georgia “suffers from an average credit score and credit card delinquency rate that are among the five worst of any state.” For these reasons, no other state is worse for people who are hoping to borrow money. But there’s one that’s equally as bad up next.

Tie-1. Alabama

Alabama fans hold up an elephant mascot at a football game.

Alabama fans hold up an elephant mascot at a football game. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The other half of the crown goes to Alabama. And Alabama has it bad in several ways. According to the analysis, “Alabama has the second-highest bankruptcy rate and is also among the 10 worst states for credit scores, credit card delinquencies and unemployment.” Alabama has a reputation for being economically stunted, and the bad credit conditions in the state seem to prove it.

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