The survey from GoBankingRates.com considered "use of banking services, strong saving and investing behavior, and strong financial education policies." Without the third element, South Dakota would have been higher and New Jersey would have been lower:
With stronger financial education policies than most states, New Jersey requires high school students to take both an economics and a personal finance course.If simply requiring a course made a notable difference, it eventually show up in the better financial statistics: fewer bankruptcies, better spending, and better use of banking services. Merely requiring a course does not guarantee learning, and may have originated from residents' financial problems.
South Dakota's financial education requirements are average, requiring only that both economics and personal finance courses be offered in the state's high schools but not requiring students to take them and not requiring testing.