Northwest Iowa — Two northwest Iowa counties are ranked high in a recent list of counties in which people are the most financially healthy in the state.
SmartAsset, a New York financial technology company, recently released a study on the most financially healthy places in the U.S. The study analyzed debt, bankruptcy, poverty and unemployment in counties across the country to find where residents were the most financially healthy. According to the study, O’Brien and Sioux counties are two of the healthiest places in Iowa.
O’Brien County is ranked third, behind only Delaware and Wright counties. Sioux County is fifth, behind Iowa County.
To find the most financially-healthy places, SmartAsset tells us they took a holistic approach, considering debt as a percent of income, bankruptcies per 1,000 people, poverty rates and unemployment rates in their analysis. To calculate debt as a percent of income, they divided debt per capita by income per capita. To calculate bankruptcies per 1,000 people, they divided total bankruptcies by the population, and multiplied that number by 1,000.
To calculate the Financial Health Index, SmartAsset weighted debt as a percent of income — 25%; bankruptcies — 40%; poverty rates — 20%; and unemployment rates at 15%. SmartAsset officials say they ranked the counties on each of the categories and then indexed each category. They then added those indices together and indexed that.
They tell us that in the study, 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.
The study found O’Brien County citizens have low debt. As a percentage of income, it’s less than one percent at 0.76 percent. Bankruptcies happen at a rate of 1.14 per 1000 people. The poverty rate is 10.1 percent, and the unemployment rate is just 2.4 percent.
In Sioux County they found citizens there have 1.01 percent debt as a percentage of income. Bankruptcies in Sioux County happen at an even lower rate of 0.46 per 1000 people (that works out to 1 in 2174 people). The poverty rate is even lower at 7.3 percent, and unemployment was lower too, at 2 percent.