Clark County Mirrors Nation In Auto Loan Debt

Posted on by & filed under Nevada by the Numbers Blog.

The Urban Institute is out with an excellent county-by-county map of auto loan debt and delinquency rates over the entire United States, broken down by both ethnicity (white vs. non-white) and loan type (subprime, near prime, and prime). Nevada closely matches the national averages: 31% of Nevadans have an auto loan, including 33% of white Nevadans and 26% of non-white Nevadans (those numbers at the national level are 30%, 32%, and 25% respectively).

When it comes to who has delinquent loans, however, the trend reverses: 7% of non-whites are behind, versus only 3% of whites. Those numbers are the same in Clark County, the state’s largest population center, though due to the ethnic makeup of the rest of the state the total and white numbers are far more closely in line: Washoe County has a 3% delinquency rate, with 2% being white and the non-white sample size being too small to model. Interestingly Elko County has a similar ethnic makeup to Washoe according to Census.gov but has a much different loan outcome: 2% of loans are delinquent and 1% of whites have delinquent loans, but 5% of the non-white population is behind. Though Elko has a much smaller population it has a higher median income for whites and non-whites alike, and slightly lower poverty rate. As Elko is a large county geographically (4th largest by area in the contiguous US) and has limited public transportation options, purchasing a car may be more of a necessity: 42% of Elko residents have an auto loan, versus a state average of 31%.

Looking at the data by type of loan is also interesting: while Clark County again hews very closely to national averages there are some outliers elsewhere in the state. In Nye County (largest population center: Pahrump), 18% of subprime auto loans are delinquent, as are 17% in Churchill County. Washoe has a subprime rate well below the national average, at 9%, and Elko County comes in even further down, with only a 4%subprime delinquency.

Nevada is a large state with several seemingly disparate economies, and the day-to-day realities of those economies can be examined through numbers like these. In which communities are cars a necessity? Who needs to take out auto loans, and what kind of loan can they get? Check out these numbers for yourself, along with data for the rest of the nation, at Urban Institute.