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Cities in the Most Financial Distress During COVID-19

Published: October 26, 2020
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While the public-health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge concern, it’s important to pay attention to how the disease has affected the financial status of people in cities across the U.S. While the unemployment rate has been slowly improving as the country reopens, 12.6 million Americans are still out of a job. In addition, one survey estimates that nearly 69% of Americans would find it “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to meet their current financial obligations if their next paycheck were delayed for one week. However, Americans in some cities are faring better than others.

In order to take a deeper look into where people are struggling the most financially, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities without data limitations across nine key metrics. Our data set includes factors like the change in the number of bankruptcy filings between June 2020 and June 2019, the average credit score and the share of people with accounts in distress.

 

Main Findings

 

Cities with the Most People in Financial Distress During COVID-19

 

Overall Rank* 

City

Total Score 

Credit Score 

People in Distress 

Average Number of Accounts in Distress 

Bankruptcy Filings Increase 

Search Interest for Debt 

Search Interest for Loans 

1 Las Vegas, NV 72.39 14 5 2 41 15 7
2 Chicago, IL 70.58 34 33 27 66 1 1
3 Houston, TX 66.74 26 48 41 88 1 1
4 San Antonio, TX 65.74 4 12 25 78 15 1
5 Dallas, TX 65.50 39 58 69 30 5 1
6 Phoenix, AZ 65.46 18 57 48 15 5 8
7 Los Angeles, CA 65.33 46 75 88 50 1 1
8 Austin, TX 65.08 33 1 9 10 15 19
9 Miami, FL 60.47 64 49 77 35 5 8
10 Fort Worth, TX 59.72 30 25 18 27 32 8
11 Memphis, TN 56.89 5 14 43 90 24 8
12 New York, NY 56.72 83 83 98 92 1 1
13 San Diego, CA 55.78 68 54 85 13 5 19
14 Jacksonville, FL 54.74 47 18 23 64 24 12
15 Orlando, FL 54.64 85 15 15 23 24 19
16 Cleveland, OH 54.51 27 40 40 59 24 12
17 Laredo, TX 54.31 12 3 6 45 47 52
18 Indianapolis, IN 54.16 1 61 64 67 24 12
19 Philadelphia, PA 52.83 42 65 54 95 5 12
20 Washington, DC 52.59 57 36 52 39 11 36
21 Atlanta, GA 52.48 66 45 66 76 11 12
22 Detroit, MI 52.10 16 41 39 38 32 19
23 Mesa, AZ 51.87 9 27 5 15 47 52
24 North Las Vegas, NV 51.79 28 4 1 41 86 74
25 Des Moines, IA 51.64 24 13 19 1 59 99
26 Tampa, FL 51.23 45 17 46 31 32 29
27 Nashville, TN 51.00 29 11 13 79 32 29
28 St. Louis, MO 50.94 59 29 53 48 24 19
29 Denver, CO 50.90 32 96 82 5 15 19
30 El Paso, TX 50.76 56 55 44 83 15 12
31 Albuquerque, NM 50.73 55 26 16 22 47 29
32 Oklahoma City, OK 49.56 2 69 56 49 47 19
33 Corpus Christi, TX 49.49 3 7 12 37 96 52
34 Kansas City, MO 49.45 10 22 10 84 42 29
35 Baton Rouge, LA 49.19 49 2 4 91 59 36
36 Louisville, KY 49.09 11 52 79 7 32 44
37 Milwaukee, WI 48.90 37 42 30 80 42 12
38 Columbus, OH 48.80 38 23 42 77 32 19
39 Birmingham, AL 48.77 36 35 20 8 59 44
40 Baltimore, MD 48.07 22 46 65 82 15 29
41 Reno, NV 47.90 53 6 3 25 86 79
42 Arlington, TX 47.79 19 30 21 46 59 36
43 Charlotte, NC 47.71 67 28 17 96 15 19
44 Minneapolis, MN 47.23 60 66 61 21 24 36
45 Cincinnati, OH 46.50 54 32 62 34 47 29
46 Tucson, AZ 46.16 8 73 38 57 32 44
47 Richmond, VA 46.11 73 50 50 3 59 44
48 Sacramento, CA 45.69 23 94 73 55 15 36
49 Glendale, AZ 44.43 17 39 28 15 96 63
50 Winston-Salem, NC 44.33 50 8 71 6 76 79
51 Henderson, NV 44.08 89 10 7 41 59 74
52 Raleigh, NC 44.08 65 43 24 63 32 44
53 Fresno, CA 44.02 25 92 99 69 11 36
54 Garland, TX 43.76 51 16 11 47 86 74
55 Lubbock, TX 43.44 21 70 45 24 76 44
56 Honolulu, HI 43.31 92 59 94 2 24 74
57 Tulsa, OK 43.10 7 71 84 12 76 44
58 Seattle, WA 43.01 93 90 67 60 11 36
59 Oakland, CA 41.42 48 77 78 70 47 19
60 Plano, TX 41.14 96 47 26 4 59 79
61 Greensboro, NC 41.09 76 20 37 75 42 52
62 Stockton, CA 41.06 20 91 68 11 47 63
63 Virginia Beach, VA 40.79 61 60 33 58 47 52
64 Spokane, WA 40.76 40 9 8 85 86 88
65 Fort Wayne, IN 40.67 58 34 22 44 76 79
66 Omaha, NE 40.00 43 85 96 9 47 52
67 Norfolk, VA 39.98 6 78 55 32 86 63
68 San Bernardino, CA 39.83 15 72 70 40 59 63
69 Portland, OR 39.74 62 88 91 26 32 52
70 Toledo, OH 39.71 31 56 51 28 100 63
71 San Jose, CA 39.66 87 99 90 94 5 29
72 Irving, TX 39.46 79 21 14 65 76 63
73 Chandler, AZ 39.43 80 38 34 15 76 93
74 Gilbert, AZ 39.34 91 24 31 15 76 93
75 Aurora, CO 38.72 34 68 74 29 76 63
76 New Orleans, LA 38.14 52 19 35 99 59 36
77 Long Beach, CA 38.08 77 64 47 50 59 52
78 Bakersfield, CA 37.37 44 82 81 68 47 44
79 Durham, NC 36.93 90 37 29 62 59 79
80 Hialeah, FL 36.65 41 51 87 35 86 79
81 Buffalo, NY 36.07 63 31 32 89 59 79
82 Riverside, CA 35.82 78 80 95 33 47 52
83 San Francisco, CA 35.24 81 98 76 86 15 52
84 Pittsburgh, PA 34.61 70 79 60 72 42 79
85 Wichita, KS 34.44 13 89 80 81 59 63
86 Chula Vista, CA 34.41 74 67 89 13 86 93
87 Boston, MA 34.03 84 76 97 73 32 63
88 Anaheim, CA 33.48 98 62 59 52 59 63
89 Santa Ana, CA 33.24 95 86 75 52 47 63
90 Boise, ID 33.03 82 63 57 56 86 88
91 Colorado Springs, CO 32.03 72 84 93 74 59 52
92 Irvine, CA 31.23 100 74 83 52 42 93
93 Chesapeake, VA 30.21 88 44 36 93 86 88
94 Lincoln, NE 30.17 71 87 72 61 96 88
95 Scottsdale, AZ 28.92 99 93 86 15 86 93
96 Newark, NJ 27.46 69 53 63 100 76 74
97 Fremont, CA 26.14 97 100 49 70 59 99
98 Jersey City, NJ 24.93 86 95 58 97 59 88
99 Madison, WI 24.50 94 81 100 87 76 79
100 Anchorage, AK 20.69 75 97 92 98 96 93

Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the worst conditions for that metric.

Ask the Experts

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial distress for millions of Americans. For more insight on how to deal with this distress, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:

  1. What will be the long-term impact of unemployment spikes and the inability to pay debt on the recovery of the credit market?
  2. What tips do you have for people looking to improve their credit scores?
  3. As access to credit has become more difficult, what options are there for low-income individuals who desperately need support at the moment?
  4. What should be the main points of an efficient plan that will facilitate a quick and healthy market recovery?

Methodology

In order to determine the cities where people are in the most financial distress during COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities without data limitations (Lexington-Fayette, KY, St. Paul, MN and St. Petersburg, FL we excluded) across nine key metrics in six overall categories: 1) Credit Score, 2) People with Accounts in Distress, 3) Average Number of Accounts in Distress, 4) Change in Number of Bankruptcy Filings - June 2020 vs. June 2019, 5) “Debt” Search Interest Index and 6) “Loans” Search Interest Index. WalletHub defines an account in distress as one which either is in forbearance or has its payments deferred.

We then determined the weighted average across all metrics to calculate an overall score for each city and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Credit Score – Total Points: 16.66

  • Average Credit Score in September: Double Weight (~11.11 Points)
  • Change in Credit Score - September vs. January: Full Weight (~5.55 Points)

People with Accounts in Distress – Total Points: 16.66

  • Share of People with Accounts in Distress in September: Full Weight (~8.33 Points)
  • Change in the Share of People with Accounts in Distress - September vs. January: Full Weight (~8.33 Points)

Average Number of Accounts in Distress – Total Points: 16.66

  • Average Number of Accounts in Distress in September: Full Weight (~8.33 Points)
  • Change in the Average Number of Accounts in Distress - September vs. January: Full Weight (~8.33 Points)

Change in Number of Bankruptcy Filings – June 30, 2020 vs. June 30, 2019 – Total Points: 16.66

“Debt” Search Interest Index – Total Points: 16.66

“Loans” Search Interest Index – Total Points: 16.66

 
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Google Ads and WalletHub data.

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