Methodology: 2016's Best and Worst Cities for Financial Stability

The methodology behind 2016's Best and Worst Cities for Financial Stability.

The following are the weighted characteristics used to tabulate WalletHub's financial stability ranking system. The five dimensional scores were summed to calculate a total score and create a ranking. Cities were also assigned ranks for each of the five dimensions.


Credit Standing – Total Points: 20

  • Average Credit Score: Triple Weight (~7.50 Points)
  • Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Median Credit Card Debt per Person: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Credit Utilization: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Percentage of Underbanked Households: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Percentage of People Delinquent on their Debt : Full Weight (~2.50 Points)

Responsible Spending – Total Points: 20

  • Mortgage Debt per Person as a Percentage of Median Earnings: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
  • Non-Mortgage Debt per Person as a Percentage of Median Earnings: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)
  • Income Volatility: Full Weight (~6.67 Points)

Savings – Total Points: 20

  • Percentage of Households Who Saved for Unexpected Expenses or Emergencies in Past 12 months: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Percentage of Households Who Kept Their Savings in the Savings Account: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Credit Cards Comparison: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the real intent of residents to compare credit cards.
  • Annual Consumer Savings Account Averages: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Employer-Based Retirement Plan Access and Participation Rate: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)

Risk Exposure – Total Points: 20

  • Percentage of Residents without Health Insurance: Triple Weight (~6.67 Points)
  • Exposure to Automobile Liability (“Most and Least Risky States for Drivers’ Wallets Ranking”): Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Percentage of Homes Underwater (with negative equity): Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Paid Family Leave: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Job Security: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: (Number of Employees in 2015 - Number of Employees in 2014) / Number of Employees in 2014

Earning Power – Total Points: 20

  • Median Annual Income (adjusted for cost of living): Triple Weight (7.50 Points)
  • Income Growth: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Underemployment: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Women’s Earnings As A Percentage Of Men’s Earnings: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Percentage of Residents Who Didn’t Graduate High School: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Job Seekers” Rank: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
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