Money Matters

Report names Austin among cities under the most financial stress during pandemic

Austin among U.S. cities under most financial stress during COVID-19

Austin aerial skyline with downtown
Austin and many other Texas cities appear in the top 10.  Photo by dszc/Getty Images

During the pandemic-produced recession, financial woes are weighing heavily on many Texans, including Austinites.

study released this week by personal finance website WalletHub found Austin ranks eighth in the U.S. for financial distress during the pandemic.

To examine where Americans are struggling the most financially, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across nine key metrics that were rolled into six categories. Factors taken into consideration include average credit score, number of bankruptcy filings between June 2019 and June 2020, and online searches regarding debt and loans.

Among the categories, Austin ranks: 

  • No. 1 for people with accounts in distress, which considered the share of people with accounts in distress in September, as well as the change in that figure from January-September.
  • No. 9 for average number of accounts in distress, which looked at the average number of accounts in distress in September, as well as the change from January-September.
  • No. 10 for bankruptcy filings increase.

WalletHub defines a distressed account as one for which payments have been reduced, skipped, or delayed.

Among Texas cities, Austin has a lot of company in WalletHub's top 10. Houston appears at No. 3, followed closely by San Antonio at No. 4, Dallas at No. 5, and Fort Worth at No. 10.

In September, the statewide unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, while the nationwide unemployment rate was 7.7 percent. Last month, the Houston area's unemployment rate stood at 9.6 percent, up from 8.1 percent the previous month — the highest among the state's major metros. The September jobless rate was 6.4 percent in Austin, 7.4 percent in Dallas, 7.6 percent in Fort Worth, and 7.8 percent in San Antonio. 

According to the study, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio are tied for first among the country's 100 largest United States cities for online searches about loans. Houston is also tied for first regarding online searches about debt.

In all, 13 Texas cities are included in the ranking. Irving demonstrates the most financial stability of the 13 cities, according to WalletHub, with a financial stress ranking at No. 72.

The highest financial distress is found in Las Vegas, says WalletHub, followed by Chicago. 


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