Dec 19, 2019

Mapping credit inequality in the U.S.

Expand chart
Data: New York Fed; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

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%.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.