These States Have the Biggest Financial Literacy Problems

Many parts of the U.S. lag on financial literacy.

Jun 8, 2014 at 1:13PM

The issue of widespread financial illiteracy -- not just in this country, but around the world -- has rightfully garnered significant attention in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The housing market collapse and ensuing financial crisis served as a stark reminder of our societal obsession with debt as well as the dangers of fingertip financial access in the hands of consumers who are marked by a hope-for-the-best, figure-it-out-later attitude and an obvious lack of financial aptitude. But how much did we really learn, and what are we doing to help future generations avoid repeating our mistakes?

Not enough, it would seem. We've collectively racked up more than $73 billion in new credit card debt since the beginning of 2012, and it's little surprise given that only two in five adults actually have a budget. There's really no shortage of statistics that one can quote to illustrate our money management shortcomings -- from the 19% of Americans who spend more than they make to the 60% of folks who don't have a rainy day fund.

Where are the problems most and least pronounced, and which areas of the country are taking the necessary measures to foster a financially prosperous future? That's what WalletHub sought to discover by analyzing financial education programs and consumer habits in each of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, using 12 key metrics ranging from Champlain University's High School Financial Literacy Grades to the percentage of residents with a rainy day fund. More information about our methodology, as well a complete breakdown of our findings and expert commentary, can be found here.

Source: WalletHub.

Overall Rank

State Name

Knowledge and Education Sub-Rank

Planning and Daily Habits Sub-Rank

1 New Hampshire 1 1
2 Utah 3 8
3 Virginia 3 19
4 New Jersey 7 9
5 Minnesota 6 10
6 South Dakota 5 11
7 North Dakota 14 3
8 Maryland 11 4
9 Idaho 2 30
10 Massachusetts 24 2
11 Pennsylvania 19 6
12 Illinois 16 12
13 Wisconsin 13 16
14 Nebraska 18 13
T-15 Colorado 9 21
T-15 Iowa 20 13
17 Maine 34 5
18 New York 22 18
19 Montana 23 20
20 Vermont 12 27
21 Washington 29 16
22 California 42 7
23 Florida 31 15
24 South Carolina 26 28
25 Indiana 27 29
26 Oregon 28 25
27 Kansas 8 47
28 Hawaii 39 22
29 West Virginia 36 23
30 District of Columbia 30 33
31 Wyoming 35 26
32 Missouri 10 44
33 Tennessee 15 42
34 Ohio 33 31
35 Connecticut 37 32
36 Georgia 17 43
37 North Carolina 32 36
38 Delaware 47 24
39 Texas 21 45
40 Oklahoma 25 46
41 Alaska 45 34
42 Michigan 46 35
43 Arizona 38 41
44 Kentucky 44 38
45 Alabama 43 39
46 Rhode Island 48 40
47 New Mexico 49 37
48 Louisiana 40 49
49 Nevada 41 50
50 Arkansas 50 48
51 Mississippi 51 51

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