The 2015 edition of the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s (CFED’s) Assets & Opportunity Scorecard was released on January 29 along with a companion report, Excluded from the Financial Mainstream: How the Economic Recovery is Bypassing Millions of Americans. The Scorecard, updated annually, explores the economic and financial well-being of Americans in each state across five categories: financial assets and income, businesses and jobs, housing and homeownership, education, and healthcare. The Scorecard contains 67 indicators that measure economic outcomes and 68 indicators that measure the presence of state policies that address economic issues. Although the overall U.S. economy is recovering from the recession, CFED finds that millions of Americans are still struggling and that income inequality continues to grow.
The 2015 Scorecard finds significant disparities across indicators by household race. For example, 61% of households of color are “liquid asset poor” compared to 35% of white households. Liquid asset poor families do not have enough fiscal savings to cover basic expenses for three months in the event of a crisis, such as sudden unemployment or a medical emergency. More than three-quarters (78%) of African-American households have poor credit scores, compared to 35% of non-Hispanic whites. The Scorecard shows that 72% of white households own their homes compared to 46% of households of color. In 34 states, the gap in the rate of homeownership between white homeowners and homeowners of color increased from 2012 to 2013. States with the largest racial gap between white homeowners and homeowners of color are clustered in the Northeast and the Midwest.
The Scorecard includes data on the number of cost-burdened renters by state. In 2013, 52% of all renters nationwide faced a housing cost burden, spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. The Scorecard also features several policy tools that some states have used to address the need for affordable rental housing. For example, 47 states and D.C. were found to have a state-level Housing Trust Fund, dedicating public money to affordable housing. Eight states and D.C. have prohibited Section 8 “Source of Income” discrimination.
The Scorecard recommends a wide range of state policy strategies to address both income inequality and to build assets for low income households such as revising and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, increasing the minimum wage, and expanding college savings matching programs.
To download the full report, go to http://assetsandopportunity.org/assets/pdf/2015_Scorecard_Report.pdf
To see state rankings and all other indicators go to http://assetsandopportunity.org/scorecard/