Mapping credit inequality in the U.S.
This map is a vivid depiction of credit inequality in the United States. The dark areas show counties where a large proportion of the population has no access to credit, while the lighter areas are considered "credit-assured" or "credit-likely."
Why it matters: Communities with good access to credit can grow faster and prove more resilient to shocks than their less creditworthy counterparts.
Details: The source is an ambitious new report from the New York Fed, which is designed to measure access to credit not at the individual level but rather at that of the community as a whole.
The report creates a credit insecurity index, which is a proxy for the percentage of the population with no access to credit. Mouse over individual counties to see their scores.
- "Credit-assured" communities have an index of less than 19%, while "credit-at-risk" communities fall between 29% and 35%. Anything above 36% is considered "credit-insecure."
- For guidance: San Francisco gets a score of 19.4%, Manhattan is 23.2%, and Washington, D.C., is 30.8%.
Race plays an enormous factor in this map.
- 58% of the population in the credit-insecure counties is non-white, compared with 27% of the population in the credit-assured counties.
- One of the best scores in the country, 11.5%, is boasted by Fall River County in South Dakota, which is 89% white. Neighboring Oglala Lakota County, by contrast, has a truly gruesome score of 66.1%; it is 94% Native American.
- The highest score of all is found at the tip of the Alaskan panhandle, in the Aleutians West census area. That population, which is served by just one bank branch, has a credit insecurity score of 74.4%.