The lure of West Virginia will forever be immortalized by John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“Almost heaven, West Virginia. Blue ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River. Life is old there, older than the trees… Country roads, take me home. To the place I belong. West Virginia…”
But there is more to West Virginia than its rural, rustic charm and natural beauty.
First, the Mountain State’s unique geographic placement gives its residents access to major hubs of business like New York City to the Northeast and Washington D.C. to the east.
West Virginia’s economy is often characterized as “outdated” and “depressed,” but that is not exactly the truth. Yes, West Virginia has relied heavily on traditional industries like coal mining and steel production, but the Mountain State’s economy is much more than that now.
Tourism has become a huge portion of the the West Virginia economy with adventure-seekers constantly traveling to the state to visit the Monongahela National Forest and the Appalachian Trail. West Virginia’s tourism sector contributes billions of dollars each year.
At the end of the day, though, energy is the real driver behind West Virginia’s prosperity. The state not only produces a surplus of electricity, but leads the U.S. in net interstate electricity exports. West Virginia has also become one of the major states to spearhead the green energy movement, especially wind power.
The results are tangible. In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that West Virginia’s economy was growing twice as fast as the next fastest growing state east of the Mississippi River. Overall, the state was tied with Wyoming in third for the fastest growing state economies, trailing only North Dakota and Texas.
To see what affect these things have had on residents, LendEDU has taken a plunge into the community-by-community economics of West Virginia. Using licensed Experian data, we have found the 150 towns and cities in the Mountain State with the highest average credit scores.
Why look at average credit score? It is a great way to determine the economic health of an entire place; the statistic can be indicative of average income levels and employment and default rates.
>> Read More: What is a good credit score?
Immediately below, you will see the 150 communities in West Virginia that have been recognized by LendEDU for their elite economic conditions.
Interactive Table Featuring the Highest Credit Scores in West Virginia
All of the data visualized in this report was licensed by LendEDU from Onboard Informatics and Experian. Onboard Informatics’ dataset was used to find the most recent population figures and the locations of each West Virginia town and city. Experian’s Premier Aggregated Credit StatisticsSMdataset was put to use to find the average VantageScore 3.0®1 credit score of each West Virginia town and city.
An arbitrary population cutoff was set at 1,000, which meant that any West Virginia community with a population figure below 1,000 was not analyzed further. West Virginia’s largest cities, like Morgantown, had multiple ZIPTM2codes and thus multiple average credit scores. To ensure each town and city only had one ZIP CodeTM and one average credit score, ZIP codes were weighted according to population and then averaged together. A ZIP Code with a greater population was given more weight during the averaging process.
After each West Virginia community was assigned one ZIP Code and one average VantageScore 3.0® credit score, LendEDU ranked the towns and cities appropriately. Experian’s dataset lists the average VantageScore 3.0® credit score as a stand-alone statistic. West Virginia communities with a higher average credit score were ranked higher and vice versa.
1. VantageScore is a registered trademark of VantageScore Solutions , LLC.
2. Experian is a nonexclusive full-service provider licensee of the United States Postal Service. The following trademarks are owned by the United States Postal Service: ZIP and ZIP Code. The price for Experian’s services is not established, controlled or approved by the United States Postal Service.