U.S. Midwest residents most fiscally fit: survey

Thu May 19, 2011 12:08pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Although it may be best known for its university and Cornhuskers football team, the city of Lincoln, Nebraska has the most fiscally fit residents of any large urban area in the U.S., new research showed.

It scored high grades and clinched the top spot in the ranking that examined the financial stability of people in 100 American cities.

"We were interested in taking this snapshot of the large cities around the country to see where people were suffering and what, if any, patterns we could glean from the results," said Matt Marion, deputy editor of Men's Health magazine, which published the rankings in its latest issue.

"It (Lincoln) consistently finished at or near the top in almost every one of our categories," he added in an interview.

Marion believes a Midwestern mentality of living within one's means could account for the dominance of Midwest and upper Midwest cities in the top five spots.

Madison, Wisconsin captured the No.2 position, followed by Sioux Falls in South Dakota, Des Moines in Iowa and Wichita, Kansas.

"You could interpret, perhaps, that there is a Midwestern mindset to just stay the course when it comes to these times, and people are a bit better able to weather some of these ups and downs because they don't get in over their heads with spending and debt, for example," he explained.

To compile the ranking published in the latest issue, the magazine analyzed eight criteria including personal bankruptcy rates of residents, credit scores, foreclosures rates, personal debt, the percentage of homeowners and renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing and how much residents contribute to personal pension funds.   Continued...

<p>Elevators with wheat and corn are seen near a suburban area in Lincoln, Nebraska, May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>