Yesterday we told you about how global trade at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is looking up. More good news: L.A. ranks at the bottom of the top 20 metropolitan areas in the United States when it comes to personal debt.
The Experian report released Thursday states the Angeleno consumers have an average personal debt of $24,009. Seattle residents ranked number one with $26,646.
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It's not a huge difference, but it was enough to make L.A. denizens seem like misers. (Experian downplayed Seattle's score, with the firm's vice president of public education, Maxine Sweet, saying, "It's important to look at the whole picture when evaluating how consumers are actually managing their credit. Seattle ranks the highest in terms of average debt per consumer. However, additional data shows that Seattle's consumers have very few late payments and are not maxing out their credit cards, so they are using their credit wisely and maintaining higher credit scores.").
You want to know why the average Angeleno has comparatively low debt? We'll tell you why. Latinos. Nearly one of every two residents here is Latino. And while some of y'all like to bash L.A. as an outpost of Mexico City, there are upsides to being diverse. One of them being that many of those Latinos are immigrants. And many immigrants don't do credit.
They borrow cash from their cousin or their tia; they frequent paycheck-cash-advance outfits; and they buy their 20-inch rims on monthly plans that don't require credit checks. And, despite all these stereotypes (we're just kideen ... sort of), they save.
So take that Arizona. (Phoenix, by the way, ranked fifth).