The average VantageScore in Louisiana is 661 and the average household debt is $39,740.
The home of Cajun and Creole cooking, Mardi Gras, and Tabasco sauce appears to manage debt well, but seems to struggle with credit, which makes Louisiana an interesting case study in the relationship of one to the other.
Louisiana experiences fiscal problems both personally and at the state level. Louisiana receives more in federal funding than it generates in state tax revenue.  Pew: Arizona, Louisiana among seven states that receive more federal dollars than state tax revenue https://www.thecentersquare.com/national/pew-arizona-louisiana-among-seven-states-that-receive-more-federal-dollars-than-state-tax-revenue/article_eca6d34a-ec4e-11e9-a230-e7e35e9024ac.html In 2017, 43.7 percent of Louisiana’s revenue came from the federal government.  Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/data-visualizations/2014/fiscal-50#ind1
This article will explore the effects that economic factors have on Louisiana’s relationship with credit and debt.
- The average VantageScore in Louisiana is 661. The national average is 690.
- Louisiana’s credit card delinquency rate is .76 percent. The national average is .57 percent.
- At 661, Louisiana has the second lowest VantageScore in the United States. The only state with a lower score is Mississippi at 658.
- Louisiana has the third highest auto loan delinquency rate at 7 percent.
- State funding for higher education has been cut by more than 40 percent since 2008. Funding was reduced by $4,949 per student from 2008 to 2018.  Public college access in jeopardy for low-income students as tuition rises: report https://www.nola.com/news/education/article_2bc62fc4-5355-5fa2-aa17-ddd3112a9249.html
Louisiana’s Credit Score Over Time
|Year||Average Vantage Score - LA|
Louisiana’s VantageScore consistently trails the national average. At 661, it is a mere one point into the range of “Good.” Louisiana’s score has fluctuated from the high end of “Fair” to the low end of “Good” for the past six years. Additionally, out of the ten U.S. cities with the lowest credit scores, three are in Louisiana: Monroe, Alexandria, and Shreveport.  Welcome to Louisiana: Home of the Low Credit Score https://www.grandlawfirm.com/blog/2016/february/welcome-to-louisiana-home-of-the-low-credit-scor/
How Credit Scores in Louisiana Compare to Other States
|Year||Average Vantage Score - LA||Average Vantage Score - US|
At 661, Louisiana has the second lowest VantageScore in the United States. The only state with a lower score is Mississippi at 658. All of the states with VantageScores in the 660-670 range are southern states (Georgia and Alabama at 665, Texas at 666, South Carolina and Oklahoma at 667, and Arkansas at 668).
Debt in Louisiana
|Year||Average Household Debt - LA||Average Household Debt - US|
Household debt in Louisiana is significantly lower than the national average. As we break this down further, however, we’ll discover that debt in Louisiana is a bit more complicated than a graph makes it seem. For example, just because the amount of debt is lower than the national average doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.
Louisiana’s residents have one of the lowest median income levels in the United States. In 2019, the median income in Louisiana was $48,000 a year, the fourth lowest in the country.  Louisiana ranks 2nd in the country for highest credit card debt https://louisianaradionetwork.com/2019/12/04/louisiana-ranks-2nd-int-he-country-for-highest-credit-card-debt/ In some instances, this can limit the amount of debt you can take on—a mortgage, for example—but it can also limit your ability to pay off the debt you have.
|Year||Average Mortgage Debt - LA||Average Mortgage Debt - US|
Mortgage debt in Louisiana is significantly below the national average. Several factors account for this, most significantly the fact that the median cost of a home in Louisiana is lower than the national average. The median cost of a home in the United States is $231,200. In Louisiana, the median cost is $143,600. Even with a lower than average median income, acquiring housing with less debt is achievable in Louisiana because the cost of living is 86 percent of the national average.  Cost of Living in Louisiana https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/louisiana
While Louisiana has a low amount of debt compared to the national average, it had the highest increase year-over-year in 2019. In 2018, the average mortgage debt in the state was $145,922, then jumped to $151,763, a 4 percent increase in a year. By way of comparison, Utah, with a much higher amount of debt ($207,090 in 2018), experienced a less severe jump to $213,771 in 2019, or 3.2 percent.
Credit Card Debt
|Year||Average Credit Card Debt - LA||Average Credit Card Debt - US|
Credit card debt is another area where Louisiana is significantly and consistently below the national average. When you see a state where both the level of debt and the average credit score are below the national average, the common thread is delinquencies.
Louisiana ranks 32nd in the nation in average credit card debt balances. However, Louisiana also ranks 4th in the nation in credit card delinquencies. Louisiana’s delinquency rate is .76 percent while the national average is .57 percent.  Louisiana Credit Card & Personal Finance Statistics https://www.creditcardlocal.com/states/louisiana/ The problem for Louisiana residents isn’t just how much they owe: When your debt is coupled with a lower than average median income, it makes it harder to chip away at that debt, especially at the interest rates that credit cards carry. This is referred to as “debt burden.”
Louisiana has the second highest debt burden in the country, exceeded only by New Mexico. In Louisiana, it would take 17 months to pay off a household’s average credit card balance with its median income. In New Mexico, it takes 18 months.  This state is the most burdened by credit-card debt https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-state-is-the-most-burdened-by-credit-card-debt-2018-12-10
Car and Auto Debt
|Year||Average Auto Loan Debt - LA||Average Auto Loan Debt - US|
We’ve shown that, while the graphs look promising for mortgage and credit card debt, the numbers conceal some underlying problems. However, Louisiana’s auto loan debt statistics are more transparent. Since 2006, Louisiana’s auto debt has been consistently above the national average.
Louisiana has a comparatively low cost of living compared to other states. Its cost of food, healthcare, housing, and utilities are all below the national average.  Cost of Living in Louisiana https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/louisiana The major exception is transportation. While this doesn’t address the cost of a car directly, it does address the cost of owning, driving and maintaining one. Louisiana’s transportation costs are more than 8 percent higher than the national average.
These additional costs coupled with rising vehicle prices and extended auto loan terms lead to the delinquencies that can torpedo credit scores. Alabama (9 percent), South Carolina (8 percent), Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Louisiana (all at 7 percent) lead the nation in auto loan delinquency rates.
Auto loan delinquencies are particularly concerning because when a delinquency escalates to a repossession, a person loses more than a way to get from point A to point B. If the inability to get to work leads to the loss of a job, that affects a person’s ability to participate in the economy.
Student Loan Debt
|Year||Student Loan Debt - LA||Student Loan Debt - US|
Unsurprisingly, Louisiana’s student loan debt issues closely follow the national average. That’s unfortunate because the national average for total debt balance just keeps climbing. Slightly less than half (48 percent) of Louisiana’s college graduates have student loan debt.  Louisiana borrowers average $26,808 in student loan debt https://neworleanscitybusiness.com/blog/2019/09/19/louisiana-borrowers-average-26808-in-student-loan-debt/ The state also has one of the lowest percentages of the population with bachelor's degrees at 23 percent. Mississippi is the only state lower at 21.9 percent. This may indicate graduates are leaving Louisiana for states with higher median incomes in order to make paying off loans more achievable.
Another contributing factor to Louisiana’s student loan debt problem is low state investment in higher education. State funding for higher education has been cut by more than 40 percent since 2008, more than any other state for that period of time.  Public college access in jeopardy for low-income students as tuition rises: report https://www.nola.com/news/education/article_2bc62fc4-5355-5fa2-aa17-ddd3112a9249.html In this same time period, the cost of college tuition at four-year Louisiana schools has doubled.  Unkept Promises: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Access and Equity https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/unkept-promises-state-cuts-to-higher-education-threaten-access-and
-  Pew: Arizona, Louisiana among seven states that receive more federal dollars than state tax revenue https://www.thecentersquare.com/national/pew-arizona-louisiana-among-seven-states-that-receive-more-federal-dollars-than-state-tax-revenue/article_eca6d34a-ec4e-11e9-a230-e7e35e9024ac.html
-  Welcome to Louisiana: Home of the Low Credit Score https://www.grandlawfirm.com/blog/2016/february/welcome-to-louisiana-home-of-the-low-credit-scor/
-  Louisiana ranks 2nd in the country for highest credit card debt https://louisianaradionetwork.com/2019/12/04/louisiana-ranks-2nd-int-he-country-for-highest-credit-card-debt/
-  Cost of Living in Louisiana https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/louisiana
-  Louisiana Credit Card & Personal Finance Statistics https://www.creditcardlocal.com/states/louisiana/
-  This state is the most burdened by credit-card debt https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-state-is-the-most-burdened-by-credit-card-debt-2018-12-10
-  Louisiana borrowers average $26,808 in student loan debt https://neworleanscitybusiness.com/blog/2019/09/19/louisiana-borrowers-average-26808-in-student-loan-debt/
-  Public college access in jeopardy for low-income students as tuition rises: report https://www.nola.com/news/education/article_2bc62fc4-5355-5fa2-aa17-ddd3112a9249.html
-  Unkept Promises: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Access and Equity https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/unkept-promises-state-cuts-to-higher-education-threaten-access-and
-  Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/data-visualizations/2014/fiscal-50#ind1