With April being National Financial Literacy Month and less than half of adults setting a budget, the free credit score website WalletHub released its report on 2023’s Most & Least Financially Literate States, which analyzes financial-education programs and consumer habits in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with expert commentary.
After the Great Recession, it became clear that more people needed to learn financial literacy. The housing-market collapse and following financial crisis reminded Americans of our obsession with debt and the dangers of quick access to finances for under-informed consumers. The importance for people to be smart about their finances became even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and remains crucial in the present during this period of high inflation.
But how much have we learned from past mistakes, and what are we doing to help future generations avoid repeating them?
Not enough, it would seem. We ended 2022 with over $1 trillion in total credit-card debt. Our mountain of debt is unsurprising, considering that less than half of adults actually have a budget. It’s clear that better financial education is necessary to try to turn this trend around. The problems aren’t as pronounced in every state, though. Some states are more responsible than others.
The study uses a data set of 17 key metrics, which range from high-school financial literacy grade to the share of adults with a rainy-day fund. The metrics also include the results of WalletHub’s WalletLiteracy Survey.
Financial Literacy in North Carolina (1=Most Financially Literate, 25=Avg.):
- 14th – % of Adults Aged 18+ Who Spend More than They Earn
- 20th – % of Unbanked Households
- 30th – % of Adults Aged 18+ Who Compare Credit Cards Before Applying
- 1st – High-School Financial Literacy Grade
- 22nd – Public High-School Graduation Rate
Most Financially Literate States
|Overall Rank||State||Total Score||WalletLiteracy||Financial Planning & Habits||Financial Knowledge & Education|
|37||District of Columbia||58.21||13||48||19|
Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.