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Top 10 smartest states for financial literacy: 2016

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The Great Recession left millions of Americans reeling, with many buried under a mountain of debt when the housing bubble burst and credit card charges piled up.

With the economy continuing its slow recovery, it might have been expected that Americans would get their financial houses in order. But according to’s latest state rankings of financial literacy, too many have not learned the hard lessons.

The rankings, which included the District of Columbia, show a woeful lack of knowledge about managing finances.

Since 2012, credit card debt has risen by $153 billion, a sign that the bitter taste of 2008 might have been forgotten. As for making a family budget, half of those in the U.S. don’t bother. In addition, 54 percent don’t have any money saved for emergencies and, as was the case last year, 20 percent outspend their incomes.

The site used three criteria to rate states: its own literacy survey; planning & daily habits; and knowledge & education. Components of the second category included the high school dropout rate, results of a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority literacy survey and the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree, among other things. The third category included looking at the percentage of people who spend more than they earn, how many have a rainy-day fund and those paying just the minimum due on credit cards.

Taking everything into account led to the site’s U.S. rankings with the literacy test counting for half a state’s score.

It’s notable that even the smartest states fall well short of a perfect 100 in the scoring.

Check out the 10 Smartest States for Financial Literacy, and watch next week for the 10 Dumbest States for Financial Literacy:

10. Virginia

Overall Score: 65.86

Literacy: 44 out of 51

Planning & Daily Habits: 25 out of 51

Knowledge & Education: 2 out of 51

9. New York

Overall Score: 66.11

Literacy: 44

Planning & Daily Habits: 25

Knowledge & Education: 2

8. Utah

Overall Score: 66.46

Literacy: 46

Planning & Daily Habits: 6

Knowledge & Education: 1

7. Florida

Overall Score: 66.69

Literacy: 2

Planning & Daily Habits: 14

Knowledge & Education: 27

6. Maine

Overall Score: 66.79

Literacy: 17

Planning & Daily Habits: 7

Knowledge & Education: 11

5. Maryland

Overall Score: 66.95

Literacy: 35

Planning & Daily Habits: 4

Knowledge & Education: 4

4. New Jersey

Overall Score: 67.11

Literacy: 22

Planning & Daily Habits: 5

Knowledge & Education: 8

3. Illinois

Overall Score: 67.24

Literacy: 6

Planning & Daily Habits: 12

Knowledge & Education: 13

2. Minnesota

Overall Score: 68.12

Literacy: 12

Planning & Daily Habits: 16

Knowledge & Education: 5

1. New Hampshire

Overall Score: 69.93

Literacy: 16

Planning & Daily Habits: 1

Knowledge & Education: 6

See also:

Financial literacy is a growth business

LIMRA: Innovative approaches to financial literacy

State of U.S. financial literacy means advisors are more important than ever

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