Credit scores continue to be an important metric for lenders to consider when loaning money, and the Midwest leads the way in a recent review of average scores by state.

Among the leaders in the creditworthiness study were both Dakotas, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

No state did better in the study than our neighbors to the Northeast in the state of Minnesota.

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The North Star state paced the field with an average credit score of 742, which is up 3 points from last year's count:

For the 10th year in a row, the northern state of Minnesota ranks the most creditworthy in the country. Its average score improved three points last year to 742.

The South is the problem region in terms of average score:

Meanwhile, every state with a credit score below 700 lies in the South — as do nine of the 10 poorest states in America.

Mississippi takes the bottom spot in both categories, with an average credit score of 681 and one in five residents living below the poverty line.

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Here's where area states finished in terms of average scores:

  • South Dakota: 733 (up 2)
  • North Dakota: 733 (up 3)
  • Illinois: 719 (up 3)
  • Iowa: 729 (up 3)
  • Minnesota: 742 (up 3)
  • Nebraska: 731 (up 3)
  • Wisconsin: 735 (up 3)

Having a good credit score can help make your financial life easier in a multitude of ways, but low scores can hamper opportunities:

Lower scores actively limit economic opportunities, making it harder and more expensive to buy a home, finance and insure a car, rent an apartment, get certain jobs and — most maddeningly of all — get a better score.

For tips on how to give your credit score a boost, or if you're just looking for more info on the variety of factors that influence a score, visit this article at debt.org.

Sources: debt.org and moneywise.com

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10 Wealthiest Cities in South Dakota

Where are the wealthiest communities in the state? Well, according to a recent study by Homesnacks, the top spot is located right here in the Sioux Empire.