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Though the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in widespread fitness center closures, many Americans still want to stay as healthy as possible. Depending on the level of services and equipment required, staying active can affect peopleâs budgets in a variety of ways. For now, virtual exercise classes and home gyms are the route most people are taking. Eventually, though, gyms will reopen at full capacity, and everyone will be able to reestablish his or her normal workout routine. When that happens, some places will be more conducive to jumping into a full-on fitness frenzy, and SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find where they are.
To locate the most fitness-friendly places for 2021, we compared 301 metropolitan areas across the following metrics: percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments and the average wage of personal trainers. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAssetâs seventh annual study on the most fitness-friendly places in the U.S. Read the previous version here.
- Western and Midwestern metro areas populate the top. For the second straight year, cities in the Midwest and West dominate the top 10 of this list. Six metro areas are in the West and three are in the Midwest. Western metro areas do well in terms of fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments â all rank within the top 8% of study for this metric â and they also rank within the top 14% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work. Only one metro area in the top 10 is not in either of these regions â Ithaca, New York.
- Fitness-friendly cities are light on the drive-thrus. On average, across the 301 metro areas in our study, fast-food establishments represent 45% of all restaurants. Though fast food is popular, convenient and inexpensive, it tends to be relatively high in calories and low in nutritional value â making it tougher to be healthy if you eat a lot of it, regardless of your exercise levels. In the top 10 of this study, all but three metro areas have fewer than 40% of their restaurants serving fast food, so there is less temptation to go for an easy-but-unhealthy meal that can ruin all your hard work. The metro area with the lowest percentage of restaurants that are fast food is Wenatchee, Washington, where it is just 27%.
1. Missoula, MT
The Missoula, Montana metro area is the most fitness-friendly place in the U.S. for 2021. There are 131 fitness establishments â including places like gyms and sporting goods stores â per 10,000 total establishments in Missoula, the third-highest rate for this metric in the study. There are also plenty of fitness professionals living in Missoula, 59 per 10,000 workers, placing it sixth-best for this metric. Residents in Missoula also get plenty of exercise simply by walking or biking to work: 7.1% of residents choose to do so, the 17th-highest rate for this metric across the 301 areas we studied.
2. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
The La Crosse, Wisconsin metro area, which also includes parts of Minnesota, has 130 fitness establishments for every 10,000 total establishments, the fourth-highest rate for this metric. The metro area finishes in the top quartile for three other metrics as well, ranking 28th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers (with 42), 33rd for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work (at 5.2%) and 64th for the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments (around 39%).
3. Bend, OR
The Bend, Oregon metro area cracks the top 10 for two of our metrics. It places fourth in terms of fitness professionals per 10,000 workers with 61, and seventh for fitness establishments per 10,0000 total establishments, at 116. Bend can be a bit pricey of a place to stay in shape, though. The average hourly wage of personal trainers is $18.72, placing Bend at 176th out of 301 for this metric.
4. Ann Arbor, MI
There are 67 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers in the Ann Arbor, Michigan metro area, the second-highest rate for this metric of the 301 metro areas we analyzed. For their commutes, 7.4% of residents walk or bike to work, the 15th-highest percentage in this study. There are also plenty of fitness establishments in the metro area if you prefer to work out in a dedicated space: At 112 per 10,000 residents, this is the 10th-highest rate of the 301 places we analyzed.
5. Bloomington, IN
Folks in the Bloomington, Indiana metro area might have more of an opportunity to get a workout in during their commute, with 8.0% of residents walking or biking to work, the eighth-highest rate in the study for this metric. Bloomington has two other metrics for which it finishes in the top fifth of the 301 metro areas of the study â fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments (ranking 48th-highest, with 93) and average wage of personal trainers (ranking 49th-lowest, which makes it cheaper for the consumer, at $14.53).
6. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
The metro area around Santa Cruz, California finishes ninth overall for its relatively low percentage of restaurants that specialize in fast food, at 33%. Santa Cruz also comes in 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. If youâre looking for help getting in shape, though, itâll cost you. The average wage of a personal trainer in the area is a steep $20.59, ranking in the bottom third of this study.
7. Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, Arizona has the third highest percentage of residents who walk or bike to work we saw in this study, at 11.5%. There are also 109 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, the 14th-highest rate we observed. Flagstaff is hurt, though, by its price: The average wage of a personal trainer in this metro area is $22.27, in the bottom sixth of this study.
8. Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins is the first of two metro areas in Colorado to rank in the top 10 of this study, and it gets there on the strength of having 113 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, ranking ninth of 301 metro areas for this metric. It also scores in the top 15% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work (5.2%) and fitness professionals per 10,000 workers (46).
9. Boulder, CO
Boulder is the second Colorado metro area in the top 10, and it has two metrics for which it finishes in the top 15 out of 301 in the study overall. It comes in 11th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, at 53, and 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. Its final ranking is dragged down a bit due to its bottom-10 finish for the average hourly wage for personal trainers, at a pricey $27.25. However, it still ranks in the top 20 of the study for fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, at 105.
10. Ithaca, NY
A whopping 14.5% of residents of Ithaca, New York walk or bike to work, the second-highest percentage in this study for this metric. Ithaca finishes eighth in terms of fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments with 114. It is very expensive to get help with fitness in Ithaca, though. The average hourly wage for a personal trainer is $29.30, finishing third-worst out of 301 metro areas in this study for its high cost.
Data and Methodology
To find the most fitness-friendly places in the country for 2021, we examined data for 301 metro areas across the following five metrics:
- Percentage of residents who walk or bike to work. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Concentration of fitness professionals. This is the number of fitness professionals per 10,000 workers. Our list of fitness professionals includes dietitians and nutritionists, recreational therapists, athletic trainers as well as fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics and is for May 2019.
- Concentration of fitness establishments. This is the number of fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments. Our list of fitness establishments includes sporting goods stores and fitness and recreational sports centers. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
- Concentration of fast-food restaurants. This is the percentage of restaurants that are limited-service establishments. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
- Average hourly wage of personal trainers. Given the limited availability of direct data about the cost to consumers for personal training services, this metric acts as a proxy to indicate the relative affordability of hiring a personal trainer in a given metro area. Data comes from the BLS and is for May 2019.
First, we ranked each metro area in each metric. Then we found each placeâs average ranking, giving all metrics a full weight except for concentration of fast-food restaurants and average hourly wage of personal trainers, each of which received a half weight. Using this average ranking, we created our final score. The metro area with the highest average ranking received a score of 100, and the metro area with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.
Tips for a Fit and Financially Secure Life
- Find the right financial fit. No matter what your fitness goals are, financially you want to make sure you are secure, and a financial advisor can help. Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Consider the health of your budget. If you live somewhere where fitness is expensive, make a budget so that you can work the price into your monthly spending.
- Making bigger money moves? If youâre considering moving to one of the places we listed above, use SmartAssetâs tool to find out how much house you can afford before you make the big move.
Questions about our study? Contact email@example.com.
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These days, it can take a long time to pay off a car loan. On average, car loans come with terms lasting for more than five years. Paying down a car loan isnât that different from paying down a mortgage. In both cases, a large percentage of your initial payments go toward paying interest. If you donât understand why, you might need a crash course on a concept called amortization.
Find out now: How much house can I afford?
Car Loan Amortization: The Basics
Amortization is just a fancy way of saying that youâre in the process of paying back the money you borrowed from your lender. In order to do that, youâre required to make a payment every month by a certain due date. With each payment, your money is split between paying off interest and paying off your principal balance (or the amount that your lender agreed to lend you).
What youâll soon discover is that your car payments â at least in the beginning â cover quite a bit of interest. Thatâs how amortization works. Over time, your lender will use a greater share of your car payments to reduce your principal loan balance (and a smaller percentage to pay for interest) until youâve completely paid off the vehicle you purchased.
Not all loans amortize. For example, applying for a credit card is akin to applying for a loan. While your credit card statement will include a minimum payment amount, thereâs no date set in advance for when that credit card debt has to be paid off.
With amortizing loans â like car loans and home loans â youâre expected to make payments on a regular basis according to something called an amortization schedule. Your lender determines in advance when your loan must be paid off, whether thatâs in five years or 30 years.
The Interest on Your Car Loan
Now letâs talk about interest. Youâre not going to be able to borrow money to finance a car purchase without paying a fee (interest). But thereâs a key difference between simple interest and compound interest.
When it comes to taking out a loan, simple interest is the amount of money thatâs charged on top of your principal. Compound interest, however, accounts for the fee that accrues on top of your principal balance and on any unpaid interest.
Related Article: How to Make Your First Car Purchase Happen
As of April 2016, 60-month new car loans have rates that are just above 3%, on average. Rates for used cars with 36-month terms are closer to 4%.
The majority of car loans have simple interest rates. As a borrower, thatâs good news. If your interest doesnât compound, you wonât have to turn as much money over to your lender. And the sooner you pay off your car loan, the less interest youâll pay overall. You can also speed up the process of eliminating your debt by making extra car payments (if thatâs affordable) and refinancing to a shorter loan term.
Car Loan Amortization Schedules
An amortization schedule is a table that specifies just how much of each loan payment will cover the interest owed and how much will cover the principal balance. If you agreed to pay back the money you borrowed to buy a car in five years, your auto loan amortization schedule will include all 60 payments that youâll need to make. Beside each payment, youâll likely see the total amount of paid interest and whatâs left of your car loanâs principal balance.
While the ratio of whatâs applied towards interest versus the principal will change as your final payment deadline draws nearer, your car payments will probably stay the same from month to month. To view your amortization schedule, you can use an online calculator thatâll do the math for you. But if youâre feeling ambitious, you can easily make an auto loan amortization schedule by creating an Excel spreadsheet.
To determine the percentage of your initial car payment thatâll pay for your interest, just multiply the principal balance by the periodic interest rate (your annual interest rate divided by 12). Then youâll calculate whatâs going toward the principal by subtracting the interest amount from the total payment amount.
For example, if you have a $25,000 five-year car loan with an annual interest rate of 3%, your first payment might be $449. Out of that payment, youâll pay $62.50 in interest and reduce your principal balance by $386.50 ($449 â $62.50). Now you only have a remaining balance of $24,613.50 to pay off, and you can continue your calculations until you get to the point where you donât owe your lender anything.
Related Article: The Best Cities for Electric Cars
Auto loan amortization isnât nearly as complicated as it might sound. It requires car owners to make regular payments until their loans are paid off. Since lenders arenât required to hand out auto amortization schedules, it might be a good idea to ask for one or use a calculator before taking out a loan. That way, youâll know how your lender will break down your payments.
Update: Have more financial questions? SmartAsset can help. So many people reached out to us looking for tax and long-term financial planning help, we started our own matching service to help you find a financial advisor. The SmartAdvisor matching tool can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First youâll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to three fiduciaries who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.
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Womenâs earnings in the U.S. make up about 81% of menâs, according to Census Bureau data from the past several years. Though this figure has steadily grown over the course of decades, researchers predict the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could set back pay for women. Bureau of Labor Statistics data unequivocally shows that the COVID-19 crisis has had a disproportionate impact on womenâs participation in the labor force and unemployment, and many analysts theorize this will carry over to womenâs earnings.
In this study, SmartAsset uncovered the best cities for womenâs pay leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. We compared the 150 largest U.S. across four metrics: median earnings for women, growth in womenâs earnings, womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings and the change in womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings. Both metrics that examine changes over time consider the years 2017 and 2019. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAssetâs third annual study on the best cities for womenâs pay. Check out the 2020 version here.
- Midwestern cities lag. Among the top 10 cities for womenâs pay, the Northeast, South and West are all represented. There are two cities in the Northeast, three in the South and five in the West. The first Midwest city in our ranking, however, is Overland Park, Kansas, coming in at 19th. Though both Chicago, Illinois and Cleveland, Ohio squeeze into our top 25, womenâs earnings fall significantly short of menâs. The pay gap in all three Midwest cities in our top 25 is greater than 10%.
- Median earnings for women do not equal or surpass menâs earnings in any city in our study. Last year, we found that median earnings for women were equal to or exceed median earnings for men in four cities: Yonkers, New York; Spring Valley, Nevada; Tempe, Arizona and Aurora, Colorado. Though Sacramento, California has the highest womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings this year, it is still at 99.05%.
1. Raleigh, NC
Raleigh, North Carolina ranks in the top quartile of cities for all four metrics in our study. It has the 32nd-highest median earnings for women (about $50,300), and womenâs earnings make up the 10th-highest percentage of menâs earnings (almost 96%). Between 2017 and 2019, Raleigh had the sixth-greatest increase in earnings for women (18.62%) and fourth-highest increase in womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings (13.05%).
2. Tacoma, WA
Women in Tacoma, Washington earn roughly $49,700 on average. Though this figure does not fall in the top fifth of the study, Tacoma ranks within the top 15 cities for our other three metrics: Womenâs earnings increased by more than 17% between 2017 and 2019 and womenâs earnings make up about 93% of menâs earnings â almost 10% higher than in 2017.
3. Huntington Beach, CA
Womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings increased the most in Huntington Beach, California compared to any other city in our study. Census Bureau data shows that the gender pay gap closed by almost 16% between 2017 and 2019. Huntington Beach also has the 12th-highest median earnings for women, at $61,148.
4. Sacramento, CA
Sacramento, California has the smallest pay gap of all 150 cities in our study. In 2019, womenâs earnings made up 99.05% of menâs earnings. This figure is 7.27% higher than it was 2017. As a gross figure, median earnings for women in Sacramento are about $50,400, 31st-highest of the cities we considered.
5. Jersey City, NJ
Earnings for women in Jersey City, New Jersey grew by the second-highest rate of any city in the study. Between 2017 and 2019, median womenâs earnings increased by 22.82%. As a result of that growth, 2019 median earnings for women in Jersey City are the seventh-highest overall, at $62,530.
6. St. Petersburg, FL
Womenâs earnings in St. Petersburg, Florida have grown substantially over the past couple years. In 2017, median earnings for women were less than $40,400, and in 2019, they were greater than $45,700 â marking a two-year growth of 13.39%, 19th-highest in our study. Relative to men, women in St. Petersburg earn about 8% less on average.
7. Honolulu, HI
Honolulu, Hawaii ranks in the top third of our study for all four metrics we considered. It has the 38th-highest median earnings for women (about $47,700) and ranks 45th-best for womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings (88.51%). Between 2017 and 2019, the capital of Hawaii had the 20th-greatest increase in womenâs earnings (13.24%) and 19th-largest change in womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings (almost 7%).
8. Portland, OR
From 2017 to 2019, median earnings for women in Portland, Oregon increased by 18.40% â the third-highest increase of any city in our top 10 and seventh-largest overall. With that increase, Portland has the 17th-highest 2019 median earnings for women, at more than $55,200.
9. Baltimore, MD
Baltimore, Maryland ranks in the top 20 cities of the study for two metrics: womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings (92.31%) and growth in womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings (6.47%). Census Bureau data from 2019 shows that median earnings for women in Baltimore are about $47,500, 39th-highest across all 150 cities in our study.
10. Boston, MA
Boston, Massachusetts rounds out our list of the top cities for womenâs pay. Womenâs earnings in Boston are the 11th-highest in our study, at roughly $61,700. Boston additionally ranks in the top 25 for womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings (91.88%) and the two-year growth in womenâs earnings (12.23%).
Data and Methodology
To find the best cities for womenâs pay, SmartAsset looked at the 150 largest cities in the U.S. We compared those cities across four metrics:
- Median earnings for women. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings. This is median earnings for women divided by median earnings for men. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- Growth in womenâs earnings. This is the change in median earnings for women from 2017 to 2019. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2017 and 2019 1-year American Community Surveys.
- Growth in womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings. This is the difference between womenâs earnings as a percentage of menâs earnings in 2017 and 2019. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2017 and 2019 1-year American Community Surveys.
In all cases, earnings figures are for full-time workers 16 years and older.
To determine our final list, we ranked each city in every metric, giving a full weighting to all metrics. We then found each cityâs average ranking and used the average to determine a final score. The city with the best average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.
Tips for Maximizing Your Paycheck
- Contribute to a 401(k). A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan in which you divert pre-tax portions of your monthly paycheck into a retirement account. Some employers will also match your 401(k) contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary, meaning that if you chose not to contribute, you are essentially leaving money on the table. Take a look at our 401(k) calculator to see how you and your employerâs contributions can add up.
- Consider professional help. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money. Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Questions about our study? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The post Best Cities for Womenâs Pay â 2021 Edition appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
The number of Americans driving to work alone is on the rise, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With the increase in drivers comes traffic, which means more time and money spent idling in cars. Some cities are better equipped to deal with the mass of drivers, managing to keep traffic delays and congestion to a minimum. Other cities are equipped with walkable streets and reliable mass transit options, making car ownership less necessary.
Check out mortgage rates in your area.
We considered these and other factors to find the worst cities to own a car. Specifically, we looked at hours spent in traffic per year for the average driver, the annual cost of traffic for the average driver, the rate of motor vehicle theft, the number of repair shops and parking garages per driver, the commuter stress index and the non-driving options a resident has for getting around. To understand where we got our data and how we put it together to create our final ranking, see the data and methodology section below.
- Cities on the coasts â The entire top 10 is comprised of cities on or close to the coasts. This makes sense as many of the largest cities in the country are located on the coasts. Plus, on the East Coast in particular, these cities tend to be older which means they were not built to handle car traffic.
- Grin and bear it â Traffic can get pretty bad. However, in some cities getting around by car is just about the only option you have if you want to leave your house. Thus some cities with really bad traffic like Los Angeles or Long Beach didnât quite crack the top 10.
1. Newark, New Jersey
Brick City tops our ranking of the worst cities to own a car. Whatâs tough about being a car owner in Newark is the traffic. Itâs part of the New York City metro area which has 19 million people, 5 million of whom drive to work. Newark is stuck right in the middle of this bumper-to-bumper traffic. Plus, if youâre a car owner in Newark, the risk of having your car stolen is much higher than it is in other cities. Newark ranks eighth in the country for motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents.
Related Article: The States With the Worst Drivers
2. San Francisco, California
The City in the Bay grabs the second spot for worst places to own a car. Being stuck in traffic costs the average commuter in San Francisco $1,600 per year. That cost includes both the value of the time spent in traffic and the cost of gas. SF is also one of the 10 worst cities for motor vehicle thefts per resident, another reason to forgo car ownership.
3. Washington, D.C.
The District and the surrounding metro area sees some of the worst traffic in the country. The average D.C. commuter spends 82 hours per year in traffic. Depending on how you slice it, thatâs either two working weeks or almost three-and-a-half days of doing nothing but shaking your fist at your fellow drivers. That traffic is equal to an annual cost of $1,834 per commuter.
4. Oakland, California
One argument against car ownership in Oakland is the crime. There were almost 6,400 motor vehicle thefts in the city of Oakland or 15 auto thefts per 1,000 residents. Thatâs the highest rate in the country. The average Oakland driver can also expect to spend 78 hours per year in traffic. On the plus side, if something goes wrong with your wheels in Oakland, it shouldnât be too difficult to get it fixed. There are more than six repair shops per 10,000 drivers in Oakland â the highest rate in the top 10.
5. Arlington, Virginia
As previously mentioned, the Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst traffic in the country. Unfortunately for the residents of Arlington, they are a part of that metro area. They face the same brutal 82 hours per year spent in traffic, on average. It costs Arlington residents $1,834 per year, on average, waiting in that traffic. For residents of Arlington, a car is more of a necessity than it is for people living in D.C., which is why it ranks lower in our study.
6. Portland, Oregon
Of all the cities in our top 10, Portland is the least onerous for the driving commuter. Commuters driving around the Portland metro area can be thankful that, on average, they spent only 52 hours per year in traffic. That traffic still costs each driver about $1,200. However, drivers in Portland looking for a parking garage may be out of luck. Portland has the second-lowest number of parking garages per driver in our study, and if you are looking to get your car fixed, Portland ranks in the bottom 13 for repair shops per capita.
7. Anaheim, California
Anaheim commuters are well-acquainted with traffic. Anaheim (and the rest of the Los Angeles metro area) ranks third in average hours per year spent in traffic, first for commuter stress index and fifth for annual cost of idling in traffic. Anaheim only ranks seventh because Walkability.com gives the city a 46 out of 100 for non-driving options. Thatâs the lowest score in our top 10 meaning, while owning a car here is a pain, not owning one makes getting around a true struggle.
8. New York, New York
New York is the rare American city where public transportation is usually your best bet for getting from point A to point B. All that accessibility makes car ownership unnecessary here. For New Yorkers who do drive, the traffic is not pleasant. New York drivers spend $1,700 per year, on average, waiting in traffic. Thatâs the third-highest cost in our study.
Not sure if youâre ready to buy in NYC? Check out our rent vs. buy calculator.
9. Seattle, Washington
Seattle has pretty bad traffic. Commuters here probably arenât surprised to hear the average driver spends 63 hours per year in traffic. And coupled with the traffic is the high number of motor vehicle thefts. Seattle has the fourth-highest rate of motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents in the country.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston ranked well in our study on the most livable cities in the U.S. partially based on how easy it is to get around without a car. After New York and San Francisco, Boston is the most walkable city in the country, making the cost of having a car one expense which Bostonians can possibly go without. Although occasionally maligned, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is a great option for commuters who want to avoid the 64 hours per year Boston drivers spend in traffic.
Data and Methodology
In order to rank the worst cities to own a car, we looked at data on the 100 largest cities in the country. Specifically we looked at these seven factors:
- Average total hours commuters spend in traffic per year. Data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card.
- Cost of time spent in traffic per person. This measures the value of extra travel time and the extra fuel consumed by vehicles in traffic. Travel time is calculated at a value of $17.67 per hour per person. Fuel cost per gallon is the average price for each state. Data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card.
- Commuter stress index. This metric is developed by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. It measures the difference in travel time during peak congestion and during no congestion. A higher ratio equals a larger difference.
- Non-driving options. This metric measures the necessity of owning a car in each city by considering the cityâs walk score, bike score and transit score. We found the average of those three scores for each city. Higher scores mean residents are less reliant on cars. Data comes from Walkability.com.
- Motor vehicle thefts per 1,000 residents. Data on population and motor vehicle thefts comes from the FBIâs 2015 Uniform Crime Reporting Program and from local police department and city websites. We used the most up to date data available for cities where 2015 data was not available.
- Number of repair shops per 10,000 drivers. Data on drivers comes from Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. Data on repair shops comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2014 Business Patterns Survey.
- Parking garages per 10,000 drivers. Data on drivers comes from Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2014 Mobility Score Card. Data on parking garages comes from the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2014 Business Patterns Survey.
We ranked each city across each factor, giving double weight to non-driving options and half weight to motor vehicle thefts per driver, repair shops per driver and parking garages per driver. All other factors received single weight. We then found the average ranking across each city. Finally we gave each city a score based on their average ranking. The city with the highest average received a score of 100 and the city with the lowest average received a score of 0.
Questions about our study? Contact us at email@example.com.
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Perhaps counterintuitively, consumer credit card debt has fallen since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Federal reserve data shows that the total amount of revolving consumer credit, which primarily consists of credit cards charges, fell below one trillion in April 2020 for the first time in close to two years. Data from Experian tells a similar story. Between the end of Q2 2019 and Q2 2020, the average credit card balance of borrowers fell by about 11% from $6,629 to $5,897.
Though average credit card debt is decreasing nationally, it remains high in some states and may increase during the holiday season. In this study, SmartAsset looked at states where residents tend to rely on credit the most. Using data from Experian and the Census Bureau, we ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on five metrics relating to credit card debt. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is the 2020 edition of our study on where residents most rely on credit. Read the 2019 version here.
- Credit card debt is high in Southern states. Seven of the 10 states where residents rely most on credit are in the South: Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. In all seven states, average credit card debt exceeds $5,600 and makes up more than 10% of the median household income.
- 13 states saw one-year increases in average credit card debt. Though Experian data shows that national average credit card debt fell by 11.04% over the past year, certain states still saw increases. Average credit card debt increased by more than 3% in two states â Idaho and North Dakota â and rose by 1% or more in six additional states â Oklahoma, Hawaii, Mississippi, West Virginia, South Dakota and Iowa.
Oklahoma ranks as the state where residents most rely on credit. Experian data shows that though average credit card debt fell in many places between the end of the second quarter in 2019 and 2020, it rose by 2.00% in Oklahoma, from about $5,800 to almost $6,000. With that rise, we estimate average credit card debt for Oklahoma residents makes up 10.96% of the median household income â the fourth-highest percentage for this metric in our study.
Though average credit card debt in Louisiana ranks toward the middle of the study at 24th, it makes up the second-highest percentage of median household income, at 11.25%. Additionally, credit card debt may build up in Louisiana, as the state has relatively high poverty and unemployment rates. Data from the Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Louisiana also has the second-highest poverty rate (14.3%) and 15th-highest September 2020 unemployment rate overall (8.1%).
3. Alaska (tie)
Average credit card debt in Alaska fell by close to 5% over the past year, but it is still the highest in our study, at close to $7,700. Additionally, Alaska ranks in the worst half of the study for two other metrics, average credit card debt as a percentage of income and September 2020 unemployment rate. Average credit card debt makes up 10.15% of the median household income (the 10th-worst rate for this metric overall). In September of this year, unemployment stood at 7.2% (the 23rd-worst in the study).
3. Nevada (tie)
Nevada ranks in the bottom half of the study for all five metrics we considered. It has the 11th-highest average credit card debt, the 22nd-worst one-year change in average credit card debt and the 17th-highest average credit card debt as a percentage of median household income. Census Bureau data from 2019 shows that Nevada has the 20th-worst poverty rate of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, at 8.7%. Moreover, in September 2020, the unemployment rate (12.6%) was the second-highest in the country, behind only that of Hawaii.
3. Texas (tie)
Texas ties with Alaska and Nevada as the No. 3 state in the country where residents rely most on credit. Though average credit card debt in Texas fell by almost 5% over the past year, it remains elevated compared to other states. Experian data shows that at the end of the second quarter in 2020, average credit card debt was $6,423 â the seventh-highest of any state. Additionally, Texasâ poverty rate is the ninth-highest in the study, at 10.5%.
6. New Mexico
Credit card debt in New Mexico is high relative to average incomes. We found that average credit card debt as a percentage of the median household income was third-highest in our study, at 10.98%. New Mexico residents may also struggle with credit card debt more, as unemployment and poverty rates are high. In 2019, the unemployment rate was 9.4% (eighth-highest in the study) and in September 2020, the poverty rate was 13.7% (the third-worst in the country).
7. South Carolina
South Carolina actually has the lowest September 2020 unemployment rate (5.1%) of any of the 10 states where residents most rely on credit. However, the state ranks relatively poorly on the other four metrics we considered. It has the 18th-highest average credit card debt, 14th-worst one-year change in average credit card debt, eighth-highest average credit card debt as a percentage of income and 11th-highest poverty rate.
Using Experian and Census Bureau data, we found that average credit card debt for Alabama residents makes up almost 11% of the stateâs median household income. Additionally, Alabama has the sixth-highest 2019 poverty rate (11.2%) of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
At the end of the second quarter of 2020, average credit card debt in Georgia stood at roughly $6,200. This debt may affect residents more in Georgia, as debt makes up more than 10% of the median household income in the state. In addition, almost 10% of individuals fall below the federal poverty line.
Florida has the 12th-highest average credit card debt (about $6,100) and ninth-highest average credit card debt as a percentage of median household income (10.31%). In September 2020, the unemployment rate in Florida was the 20th highest in the country, at 7.6%.
Data and Methodology
To determine the states where residents rely most on credit, we compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across five metrics:
- Average credit card debt. Data comes from Experian and is for Q2 2020.
- One-year change in average credit card debt. Data comes from Experian and is from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020.
- Average credit card debt as a percentage of median household income. This is the average credit card debt (per borrower with credit card debt) divided by median household income. Data for average credit card debt comes from Experian and data on median household income comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
- September 2020 unemployment rate. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Poverty rate. This is the percentage of the population below the federal poverty level. Data comes from the Census Bureauâs 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
First, we ranked each state in every metric, giving a double weight to both of the average credit card debt metrics, a single weight to the change in average credit card debt metric and a half weight to September 2020 unemployment rate and poverty rate. We then found each stateâs average ranking and used the average to determine a final score. The state with the best average ranking received a score of 100. The state with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.
Tips for Managing Credit Card Debt During the COVID-19 Downturn
- Contact your credit card company. Many credit card companies are offering financial relief to their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that the best first steps in receiving relief are contacting your credit card company, telling them youâve been affected and asking questions about the relief packages they offer.
- Create a plan to pay it off. Credit card debt can be incredibly stressful, especially during a recession when jobs are less secure and employment opportunities are more limited. Our credit card calculator is here to help. By adding your credit card details, you can calculate the total interest and time it will take you to pay off your debt.
- Consider a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money and get previous debt under control. Finding the right financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Questions about our study? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The post States Where Residents Most Rely on Credit â 2020 Edition appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Car manufacturers have been feeling the strain during the financial crisis. There are fewer cars on the road, workers in the factories, and consumers willing to spend, and as a result, the automobile industry has been devastated.
But manufacturers and showrooms are fighting back, finding ways to encourage consumers to buy and to make life easier for the ones that already have. In this guide, weâll look at the ways that auto lenders are helping consumers hit by the crisis and the ways that manufacturers are encouraging more drivers to purchase.
Financial Crisis Auto Relief: Manufacturers
Automobile manufacturers saw their profits free-fall in March 2020 and that followed into April, with suggestions that the chaos will progress as the year (and the pandemic that has gripped it so fiercely) continues. They are struggling and their customers are struggling as well.
Over 700,000 Americans lost their job in March and unemployment is set to rise to levels that havenât been seen for years. To make matters work, the countryâs 9.5 million+ self-employed workers have seen their incomes half.Â
As a result, many are struggling with their debts and finding it harder to meet auto loan payments. To lend a helping hand, many of the worldâs biggest manufacturers have established auto loan relief programs:
Ford announced its response to the crisis towards the end of March. Known as the Built to Lend a Hand program, it offers up to 6 months payments on a brand-new Ford and applies to all models from 2019 and 2020.
As soon as consumers sign up, they will be given 3 months of payments from Ford, while an additional 3 months can be deferred as per the customerâs request. The customer can choose to defer these payments as and when they want, but they must get their auto loan through the Ford Credit program to apply.
South Korean manufacturer, Hyundai, was one of the first to offer an auto loan relief program. South Korea was one of the hardest-hit countries in the early stages of the virus and this led to the major automobile brand offering a relief program in the middle of March.
Known as the Assurance Job Loss Protection, this program first appeared following the 2008 recession and has been revived for the recent pandemic.Â
As part of this auto loan relief program, consumers who bought or borrowed a car after March 14 can have up to 6 payments made by Hyundai. They can also request payment deferment that lasts for up to 90 days.
The Assurance Job Loss Protection program is set to run until April 30 and applies to everyone who purchases a Hyundai through eligible finance programs. It also extends to Genesis, the luxury division of Hyundai Motors that is responsible for new vehicles such as the 2020 Genesis G90.
If the pandemic continues to grow in scale and severity, the program may be prolonged, although only time will tell.
Nissan is following in the footsteps of many major creditors and lenders by working with customers on a case by case basis. If youâre feeling the strain of the crisis, whether because youâve lost some or all of your income or your expenses have increased, you can contact them and request some relief.
For borrowers struggling to meet monthly payments, Nissan offers deferred payments, but only if hardship can be proved. You likely wonât be offered anything just because you ask for it and must show that your financial situation is worse now than it was before the financial crisis.
The same applies to all Infiniti car owners, which is Nissanâs luxury brand.
Kia announced that all 0% APR borrowers could defer payments for up to four months. Borrowers who donât qualify for this can still request deferment of up to 30 days on 3 different occasions.
However, as with Nissan and many other providers, borrowers need to prove that they are experiencing hardship to be offered this auto loan relief.
GM has seen some pretty hefty losses during the financial crisis, and this is despite the fact that it began the year on a high note, making noticeable gains that were all but wiped out in the first couple weeks of March.
GM is offering a few different options to keep consumers happy and to ensure cars are still driven out of the showroom. If you already have a finance program with General Motors, and youâre experiencing hardship, you can contact GM directly, tell them what youâre going through, and get assistance.
The GM OnStar program has also been activated for all current owners. This program offers 24/7 emergency assistance and can help you get to a hospital in your time of need.
If you need a new car, you can get 0% APR for up to 84 months on most GM manufactured vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler is another brand that began 2020 with a bang and then quickly suffered a substantial slump. To counteract this, it has improved its online offerings, allowing all consumers to purchase a brand-new vehicle online and to benefit from improved financing offers when they do.
In addition, Fiat Chrysler is assisting current owners by making it easy for them to pay their bills.
If you have a car made by this leading manufacturer and youâre struggling to make payments, contact them directly, tell them about your financial hardship, and they may offer to help you with deferred payments and other solutions.
Financial Crisis Auto Relief: Alternative Options
Contrary to what you might think, lenders are not desperate to get their hands on your collateral. The best outcome for them is that you meet your payments and they get every penny of the vehicleâs value along with the interest.
If you default and they are forced to repossess, they need to pay for the repossession, deal with the extra paperwork and hassle, and eventually sell the car for much less than it is worth. They can still chase you for what you owe, but they know they probably wonât get it, making repossession something that lenders are keen to avoid.
When youâre struggling to make your payments, be honest with them, lay it all on the line, and find a compromise. They will probably be a lot more forgiving than you expect, especially during the crisis, when everyone is more understanding and willing to help.
Unfortunately, you donât have many other debt relief options when it comes to auto loans, as it doesnât make sense to do a balance transfer and debt settlement simply doesnât work here. But if you contact your lender, theyâll help you find a solution.
You can think about returning the vehicle, as well. When you lose your job and your income, and you no longer need to drive several miles to and from work every day, whatâs the point of owning a car that costs you tens of thousands of dollars and leaves you with a substantial debt?
2020 Financial Crisis Auto Loan Relief is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.