With the economy widely tipped to be a determining factor in this year’s election, Pitney Bowes Software today released new data that shows a decline in consumers’ average savings balances in four out of nine battleground states. Average savings account balances for the full year 2011 fell in absolute terms in four swing states – Nevada, Colorado, Ohio and Florida – when compared to the averages for 2010.

Savings account balances grew slower than the inflation rate in three additional battleground states – Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin – representing a decline in the real value of these accounts.

At the national level, the average savings balance increased by 3 percent from $5,753 to $5,923, just below the rate of inflation, showing that challenging conditions for saving persist.

Checking account balances look a little bit healthier, according to the Pitney Bowes Software analysis. Average balances nationwide for consumer bank non-interest checking accounts grew 5.2 percent from $2,947 to $3,100.

“In politics and business alike, it is important to identify the underlying trends below the macro-economic picture,” said John O’Hara, President, Pitney Bowes Software.  “Using location intelligence to analyze data enables government and businesses to understand their constituents or customers in the fullest context.”

Biggest Increases and Decreases

Swing state Iowa saw a 16 percent increase in checking account balances. Hawaii also saw big increases, with average checking balances increasing by 13 percent and savings balances by 11 percent. Louisiana saw an enormous 21 percent increase in savings account balances according to the data, while New York State saw a 19 percent increase and Alaska saw a 14 percent increase.

Overall, six states saw declines in non-interest checking account balances and seven more saw increases that fell below the rate of inflation.  Florida saw a double-digit (11 percent) decline in savings balances between the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, as well as a 10 percent decrease in average balances of non-interest checking accounts.

Leading States

New Jersey tops the nation in terms of the amount residents hold in both savings accounts ($7,872) and non-interest checking accounts ($4,465).  Hawaii and D.C. closely trailed New Jersey in checking account balances with averages of $4,305 and $4,266 respectively.  New York ($7,691) and Connecticut ($7,402) had the next highest savings account balances after the Garden State.

States with Lowest Balances

New Mexico had the lowest average non-interest checking ($2,206) and average savings ($4,119) account balances of all states after respective declines of 6 percent and 9 percent.  Arizona ($2,314) and Arkansas ($2,422) had the next lowest average balances for non-interest checking accounts. Arizona’s average of $4,406 was also second lowest in terms of savings balances, with Nevada not far ahead at $4,697.

About the Data

Geocoded account level data for over 100 million unique account records from commercial banks in the U.S. was analyzed in conjunction with over 200 block group-level demographic elements and MSA variables.