Which generation has the best credit scores?

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Most Americans have good credit, but some generations do better than others.

According to recent research from The Ascent on average credit scores, most Americans have fair or good credit. In fact, the average VantageScore in America was 694 in the first quarter of 2018, which is a score that most lenders would consider reasonably good.

But while credit scores are trending up and the average American is doing well when it comes to their credit history, some generations of Americans are certainly doing better than others.

So which generation wins in the credit score game?

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Which generation has the highest credit scores?

According to research by The Ascent, the Silent Generation has the highest average credit score of any generation. Members of this older demographic had an average VantageScore of 729 in 2017. That was 26 points higher than the generation with the next highest score.

As the chart below shows, the scores went down from there, with baby boomers beating out Gen X, who had a higher average score than millennials. But millennials have beat the youngest group, members of Generation Z.


Average Vantage Score 2017

Generation Z


Generation Y


Generation X


baby boomers


silent generation


Data source: Experian.

Why does the silent generation have better credit than other generations?

It’s no surprise that older Americans generally have better scores than younger ones, or that scores improve with age.

Older Americans have had more time to pay off their debt, helping to keep their credit utilization ratios low. They also had more time to build strong credit histories, simply by using their credit cards longer and taking out different types of loans. All of this affects credit scores, which are calculated based on payment history; amount of available credit used; credit age; combination of different types of credit; and the amount of new credit requested.

As people age, they also often become more financially stable, making them more adept at being financially responsible. Members of the silent generation, for example, are very likely to be retired and receiving social security and pension or investment income. They are not dependent on a paycheck to pay their bills, so they can be protected from, for example, unemployment or underemployment which could result in a missed payment or a depleted credit card.

Younger generations have also had to deal with unique financial burdens that many of their older counterparts did not have to deal with. These include high loan balances and a changing economy that makes it much less likely that they will get a stable, long-term job with many benefits. All of these factors can make it more difficult to engage in the types of borrowing behavior that can lead to high credit.

So, as you can see, there are many explanations for the increase in average credit scores as people age and why older generations have higher average scores than younger ones.

You can improve your credit score

Whether your credit score is on par with others of your generation – or a little better or a little worse – there’s probably room for improvement, unless of course you have a perfect score. Adopting good borrowing behavior, including keeping credit balances low and making payments on time, can help ensure that your credit score is one you can be proud of.

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