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Survey: Vegas is tops in debt but isn’t alone

Matt Schulz

A new survey has dubbed Las Vegas “Debt Central.” However, when you’re talking specifically about credit card-related debt, the same report shows that consumers living in far less glamorous places — like Anchorage, Alaska, and Corpus Christi, Texas — are far worse off than those in Sin City.

Men’s Health magazine’s personal debt survey, released earlier this month, ranked 100 U.S. cities by categories ranging from foreclosures to credit scores. It clearly shows that America’s credit card debt problem isn’t centered on any one part of the country, and it further underscores the fact that you don’t have to live in a huge, expensive city to be swallowed up by credit card debt.

Findings of the study include the following:
– Corpus Christi residents have America’s worst credit scores. (Three Texas cities had the three worst scores, including El Paso and San Antonio.)
– Memphis, Tenn., consumers have suffered the most bankruptcies.
– Residents of Jackson, Miss., use the highest percentage of their credit limit.
– Anchorage has the highest credit card debt.

Las Vegas was the among the dozen worst in the United States in all of the above categories except for bankruptcies. However, its foreclosure score (third-worst in the country) helped it clinch the overall title of Debt Central. Aurora, Colo., — a Denver suburb — finished second, followed by Atlanta and Sacramento, Calif.

Billings, Mont, was deemed the city with the least overall debt, thanks to low housing costs and credit card debt. Sioux Falls, S.D., which boasts America’s best credit scores, came in second overall, followed by Madison, Wis., and Honolulu.

Other highlights: Yonkers, N.Y., has suffered the fewest bankruptcies, and Lincoln, Neb., has the lowest credit card debt. Lincoln residents also use the lowest percentage of their credit limit

So how did Men’s Health compile this information? According to its Web site, editors looked at “the FDIC’s most recent personal-bankruptcy rates, and credit-reporting agency Experian’s ledger on average credit scores, credit-card debt and available credit used per person.” It would be interesting to see how different the rankings would be — if at all — if Equifax and TransUnion contributed to the data.

And while we’re on the topic of credit card-related statistics, we’re almost done with a revamp of CreditCards.com’s stats page, which will be launched in the very near future. We’ve gone through and made it easier to navigate, updated previous data and added even more fun and interesting facts. We think it’s a dramatic improvement and hope you will, too.

UPDATE (07/16/08): Our updated, new-and-improved stats page is now live. Take a look, and please share with us if you have any questions or comments about it.

See related: Credit card statistics, 2006-2008, Understanding how credit scores work,Not understanding credit scores can cost you, survey says

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