Experts say there is more to financial health than simply how much income individuals generate in a given year. It has a lot to do with where you live and your neighbors. SmartAssets, a personal finance company based in New York, did a survey on Arizona counties and discovered Yavapai County came out on top.
|Rank||County||Debt as % of Income||Bankruptcies||Poverty Rate||Unemployment Rate||Financial Health Index|
|3||La Paz, AZ||0.85%||0.89||22.20%||6.00%||64.89|
“To find the most financially healthy places, SmartAsset took a holistic approach, considering debt as a percent of income, bankruptcies per 1,000 people, poverty rates and unemployment rates in our analysis,” said Steve Sabato, spokesman for the company. “To calculate debt as a percent of income, we divided debt per capita by income per capita. To calculate bankruptcies per 1,000 people, we divided total bankruptcies by the population, and multiplied that number by 1,000.”
The scoring was based on 100 percent being perfect, Sabato said.
AJ Smith, the vice president of financial education, said the studies are helpful for the average person. “We produce these studies to help get people talking about issues like home buying, retirement and investment. This study shows the financial health of each county and can help someone in Arizona see some local perspective on how the counties in the state stack up relative to each other.
He said it is important to know the financial health of a person’s own county. “Counties that perform well in this study will usually have low unemployment, bankruptcy, poverty and debt rates, which sends a positive signal about the local economy.”
“The methodology used to calculate the Financial Health Index, we weighted debt as a percent of income 10 percent, bankruptcies 35 percent, poverty rates 45 percent and unemployment rates 10 percent. We ranked the counties on each of the categories and then indexed each category,” Sabato said.
“In the study, a financially healthy county means people there have low average debt as a percent of income, along with a low chance of being affected by personal bankruptcies, poverty or unemployment,” Sabato said. QCBN
By Patty McCormac, QCBN
The sources used for the survey include: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Program, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts