Credit Scores Correlate With Relationship Health

Credit score correlates highly with IQ.

WP: The one number that’s eerily good at predicting your success in love

When people are looking for a significant other, they often try to find someone whose values, education, earnings, hobbies and even height match their own. But new research suggests there’s one promising measure for finding a committed partner that most daters overlook — credit scores.

A credit score is a number that is supposed to reflect the risk of lending money to someone, based mostly on their past history of borrowing, repaying and defaulting on debt. Banks have long used credit scores to evaluate customers, but these days potential employers, landlords, insurance companies, cellphone companies and many other businesses do, too.

A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Board that looks at what role credit scores play in committed relationships suggests that daters might want to start using the metric as well. The researchers found that credit scores — or whatever personal qualities credit scores might represent — actually play a pretty big role in whether people form and stay in committed relationships. People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and marriages and then stay in them. In addition, how well matched the couple’s credit scores are initially is a good predictor of whether they stay together in the long term.

From the Audacious Epigone:

GNXP’s Razib alerted me to’s listing of average credit scores by state*. Not surprisingly, the scores correlate strongly with a couple of the usual suspects. With the percentage of a state’s population that is non-Asian minority (NAM), the correlation is an inverse .74 (p=0). With IQ, the correlation is an even stronger .77 (p=0).

Because these relationships are somberly unsurprising, they’re not likely to be given any attention by Important People, anywhere, ever. (That is, unless to point out societal racism, evinced from racial disparities on the blank slatist assumption that differences in groups are entirely contingent upon external social forces, or to argue for more educational spending to combat American profligacy**).

Living around people who are not up to their eyeballs in debt makes for a better quality of life. Economic downturns are less disruptive, business is easier to conduct, neighbors are more likely to take care of homes they have equity in and cars they’re not half-expecting to be repossessed, etc. A state’s average credit rating could easily be included among the 44 social, cultural, and economic factors CQ Press uses to calculate its livability index. That index correlates with a state’s estimated average IQ at a nearly identical .80 (p=0).

A visualization illustrates that unlike the red-blue political divide conceptualized as pitting the coasts against the nation’s interior, when it comes to desirable places to live (weather excluded), a north-south divide emerges.

Steve Sailer excerpts from George Will’s obituary for the late Senator Moynihan:

The Senate’s Sisyphus, Moynihan was forever pushing uphill a boulder of inconvenient data. A social scientist trained to distinguish correlation from causation, and a wit, Moynihan puckishly said that a crucial determinant of the quality of American schools is proximity to the Canadian border.”

Richard Lynn has suggested that a north-south IQ continuum has evolved through selection for greater intelligence in less hospitable environments. It seems at least plausible that colder environments also selected for greater resistance to and tolerance of cold in the process. Which, in addition to historical settlement patterns, might offer some explanation as to why the north-south contiuum continues to exist (not just in the US, but internationally as well^).

Credit scores correlate with IQ which correlates with health.


In this era of big data, a bevy of numbers is used to “define” a person: your IQ, weight, age, income, and even your number of Facebook friends. Now, new research suggests that one number may reveal much more than ever intended: your credit score.
Originally developed to set interest rates for home loans, this stat is now being used to determine everything from job eligibility to the cost of life insurance. “Your credit score is simple, in the sense that it’s a single number,” Salomon Israel, a Duke University post-doctoral scholar and psychologist, told Yahoo Health. “But it actually reflects a multi-year history of decisions.” As a result, it’s thought to shed light on something that companies can’t directly observe: how prone you are to taking risks. This may allow life insurers to estimate how long you’ll live and how healthy you are.
In other words, your credit score, once strictly used as a measure of financial health, may be a simple way to identify complex personality traits with far-reaching effects. “Credit scores capture things like: How organized are you? How trustworthy are you?” said Israel. These qualities are part of what psychologists call social capital, which includes education, IQ, self-control, and perseverance. “People might not be willing to give up a personality test or an IQ test,” he said. But a credit score? Most of us don’t hesitate to turn this information over, although Israel speculated this might change if we knew exactly how revealing that single number can be.
In fact, according to a new study in PNAS, conducted by Israel and a team of researchers from Duke University, the U.K., and New Zealand, your credit score may illuminate what’s happening inside your body, not just in your bank account. When they evaluated the heart health and credit scores of 1,037 New Zealanders, all age 38, who’d been tracked since birth, they found that their financial rating was strongly correlated to their risk of heart disease. Specifically, those with lower credit scores faced a higher risk of cardiac trouble.

Credit scores, family stability and health correlate with race. East-Asians, for instance, have higher credit scores, more wealth, more education, more family stability, and longer lives than whites who in turn have more of all these good things than blacks.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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