Does West Virginia have the lowest debt in America?


OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF)- It’s hard to believe that the year is 2020 and even harder to believe that the Great Recession happened nearly 12 years ago. So how has debt changed nationwide in more recent years? Well, the Mountain State found itself at the top of a new report but the underlying reasons may shock you. A prominent financial analyst in the northern panhandle discusses the implications.

A recent data study conducted by the website Upgraded Points from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that West Virginia has the lowest total overall debt, the lowest mortgage debt, and the second lowest credit card debt per person, nationwide.

Senior Vice President of Hazlett, Burt, & Watson, Inc., Pete Holloway, told 7News “part of it has to do with the state being very poor, our houses don’t cost very much relative to New York or California or much of the rest of the country. The median price of a house in the United States is $231,000 and West Virginia is $96,000, so we’re not borrowing as much.”

With an aging population, debts tend to already be paid off by older individuals. Mississippi and Arkansas both have similar debt rankings to West Virginia where real estate and cost of living are lowest in the nation. Essentially, basic necessities and mortgages are slashed in half.

But there are more reasons that contribute. Holloway said “there used to be a lot of community banks very small banks in all of the small cities of West Virginia and they have been absorbed by bigger banks. People on the border in different states may want to look in West Virginia because the houses are lower priced and basically if it is within ten miles of the state line no one is going to mind in terms of the drive I think we have a lot of good things going for us in this state and this just highlights one of them.”

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