Washington County Most Financially Healthy in State

Washington County is the most financially healthy county in Illinois, according to the results of one financial company.

SmartAsset, a New York financial technology company, recently released a study that found Washington County to be the most financially healthy county in Illinois.

The study took a comprehensive approach, considering debt as a percentage of income, bankruptcies per 1,000 people, poverty rates and unemployment rates in our analysis.

A financially healthy county means people there have low average debt as a percent of income, along with a low chance of being affected by personal bankruptcies, poverty or unemployment.

Washington County had a Financial Health Index of 94.85, the best in the state. That score is based on the following criteria: debt as a percentage of income (0.65 percent), bankruptcies (1.47 per 1,000 people), poverty rate (8.1 percent), and unemployment rate (2.9 percent).

To calculate debt as a percent of income, the study divided debt per capita by income per capita. To calculate bankruptcies per 1,000 people, SmartAsset’s study divided total bankruptcies by the population and multiplied that number by 1,000.

The Financial Health Index was determined as debt as a percent of income 25 percent, bankruptcies 40 percent, poverty rates 20 percent and unemployment rates 15 percent.

Counties in each of the categories were ranked and then indexed each category, and those indices were added together and indexed that.

Statistics were compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Program, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts.

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