Sunday, October 16, 2016

Credit-worthy Yunzers

So here is a factoid of note.  Completely incidental to a recently released report from the Urban Institute focused on Detroit is a table of data on the credit worthiness of residents of 'Rust Belt' cities.  While it is interesting to see what others define as the list of places that constitute the 'Rust Belt,' what jumps out is how Pittsburgh compares.  Here is a figure made from their data:

The metric there is the percentage of credit scores that rank in what is considered 'prime' or above, so higher numbers are better. Prime credit scores representing better credit worthiness.  The source is a the recently released Urban Institute report: The Fiscal Health of Detroit Residents.  Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of credit scores that have "Prime" credit scores.  Conversely Pittsburgh has the lowest percentage of residents with "Subprime" or lowest ranking of credit scores.  But in almost all measures Pittsburgh compares favorably to all the other cities. Take a look at the report to see some other factoids worth thinking about more. For all the attention to student debt, the percentage of student debt in collections is pretty low (2.8% for Pittsburgh).  Pittsburghers also seem to have the lowest credit card utilization ratio and lowest delinquency rates and what may be even more significant, compares favorably to the national average in almost all metrics identified.

I guess my biggest caveat to interpreting the numbers there is that the cities grouped together might all be "Rust Belt" cities in some sense of history, but differ markedly in size and any recent history.  For example, the City of Detroit is over 680K, while the city of Pittsburgh hovers, arguably, around 300K. To be clear, the report was focused on Detroit and not intended to be a comprehensive benchmarking exercise.  But I do wonder a bit how the cities would compare if the geographies were redefined a bit more consistently, but that is harder to do than to conceptualize. I also have to wonder about how age and student populations impact these numbers. Might be worth someone to look into more? Nonetheless, (City of) Pittsburghers seem to be far more able to access credit markets than folks in Detroit and have better credit than all those specified regions and that has to have a lot of implications across the board, not the least of which is in real estate markets. 


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