Credit scores can be a touchy subject on an individual level. Nationally, however, Americans doing shockingly well, considering the fiscal fires we've come through over the last decade. In some ways, our credit is doing better than ever.
In October 2009, a year into the Great Recession, our FICO scores bottomed out nationwide at 686. According to creditor Experian, that's on the low end of a rated-good score. That's why it's so impressive that average FICO scores have risen ever since. In fact, the latest average score, released in September, is a solid 704.
As a generation, unfortunately, millennials are still struggling: In April 2018, the last time FICO surveyed its data, younger millennials (some of whom are actually Gen Z, 18 to 29) averaged 659, a high fair score. Older millennials in the 30 to 39 age band came out at 677. The cohort most likely to have a FICO score near the new national average is 50 and up.
That said, millennials are the most saddled with student debt. We're also the most attentive to our credit scores overall, which makes us more likely to improve our credit behavior. Some experts point out that there are ways to moneyball your credit score, but generally bad credit ages out of your score within seven years or less. Finally, FICO itself recently announced that it will start offering new ways to improve your credit score, simply by maintaining good money habits.
FICO's report breaks down its results further — give it a read for more insights into the future of credit scores.