Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

The Unequal State of American Credit

A new interactive from the New York Fed shows that when it comes to community credit, some are well ahead of others.
The state of access to credit in 2014 according to the New York Fed, with the states struggling the most in yellow.
The state of access to credit in 2014 according to the New York Fed, with the states struggling the most in yellow.New York Federal Reserve

We very much take access to credit for granted in affluent societies. But it is a key—and neglected—aspect of America’s mounting socio-economic inequality. Without access to credit, we cannot afford so many of the things we need in life, from our cars and our homes to the education that shapes our earning power.

A new data series developed by the New York Federal Reserve provides important insight into this nation’s credit inequality gap. The analysis identifies the geographic imbalances in the shares of adults who have access to some sort of credit. It also examines the geography of “credit stress,” or where Americans have the worst and best quality credit. The report is based on Equifax credit report data for a longitudinal quarterly panel of anonymized individuals and households, based on a 5 percent representative sample of all American individuals with a social security number and a credit report.