|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kristin Lawton, 202.207.0137
Don Baylor, Jr., 512.823.2879
D.C.—Despite an improving national economy, 49.8 percent of Texas
households are in a persistent state of financial insecurity, according
to a report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development
(CFED). The number of households who have little or no savings to cover
emergencies or to start building a better life has barely budged from
last year’s 49.5 percent level. The report also found that state
policies are doing little to improve the financial security of Texans.
CFED’s 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard
defines these financially insecure residents as “liquid asset poor,”
which means they lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the
federal poverty level for even three months in the event of an emergency
such as a job loss or health crisis. Included among Texas’ “liquid
asset poor” are a majority of those who live below the official income
poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four, as well as many who would
consider themselves middle class. Fully 32 percent of households earning
$54,049 - $90,468 annually have less than three months of savings
(i.e., less than $5,887 for a family of four).
The Scorecard provides
rankings for the 50 states and District of Columbia on both the ability
of residents to achieve financial security and, for the first time,
policies designed to help them get there. On both measures, Texas ranks
near the bottom with an outcomes ranking of 37 and an overall policy
ranking of 41.
policies at all levels of government helped stem the tide of the
recession’s damage to household finances. They protected consumers from
foreclosure and abusive financial practices, helped raise wages and
connected families to the financial mainstream,” said Andrea Levere,
President of CFED. “Without strong policies that address the challenges
facing low- and moderate-income families, wealth and income inequality
will continue to grow and our nation’s economy will continue to
The Scorecard evaluates
how residents are faring across 66 outcome measures in five different
issue areas—Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs,
Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education. Texas received:
The Scorecard also
evaluates 67 different state policy measures to determine how well
states are addressing the challenges facings residents. Texas ranked
moderately on policies aimed at creating more opportunities for low- to
moderate-income families in the Housing & Homeownership (11th) and
Health Care (17th) areas. The state ranked low in the policy areas of
Financial Assets & Income (48th) and Education (34th), underscoring
the link between inadequate policies and ongoing challenges confronting
the state’s low- and moderate-income families.
“D” in Financial Assets & Income, reflecting a high level of income
poverty and the large number of residents with subprime credit rates.
- An “F” in the Health Care category, mainly because 25 percent of residents lack medical insurance.
“C” in the Businesses & Jobs category. Texas ranked 42nd in the
number of low-wage jobs (27.8 percent of jobs are considered low-wage),
but it ranked 5th in average annual pay of residents ($51,983),
reflecting a large division in income levels.
“C” in Education, ranking 51st for the number of adults with a high
school degree and 32nd for the number of adults with a four-year college
steady job growth and low unemployment rates, many Texas residents are
still struggling with persistent financial insecurity and have
difficulty moving up the economic ladder,” said Tim Morstad of AARP
Texas and RAISE Texas Board Chair. “The data from the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard should motivate state and local policymakers to build on an emerging consensus to improve household financial security.”
leaders can take immediate steps to create more opportunities for low-
and moderate-income families and build an economy that works for
1 in 12 Americans now living in Texas, and our state at the leading
edge of a profound demographic shift, a snapshot of economic opportunity
in Texas is a window into the future of our country,” noted Don Baylor,
CFED Board Member and Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Public
Policy Priorities. “These common-sense recommendations provide a roadmap
for policymakers to improve the bottom line for Texas families and the
- Empowering all families to open college savings accounts.
- Curbing abusive payday and auto-title lending.
- Removing barriers to household savings and asset building.
Published annually, the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard
offers the most comprehensive look available at Americans’ ability to
save and build wealth, fend off poverty and create a more prosperous
future. It explores how well residents are faring in the 50 states and
the District of Columbia and assesses policies that are helping
residents build and protect assets across the five issue areas listed
Nationally, the Scorecard data
reveal that five years into the economic recovery, millions of American
families are still treading water in the deep end. While indicators
such as unemployment, foreclosure rates and credit card debt show a slow
but steady decline, the general picture remains one of declining
economic mobility and widening wealth and income inequality. Among other
average college debt for students graduating increased eight percent
from $27,150 in 2011 to $29,400 in 2012. As student loan debt increased,
so did the student loan default rate. Fifteen percent of borrowers in
2012 defaulted on their student loans within three years of starting
repayment, up from 13 percent in 2011.
percent of employees participating in employer-provided retirement
plans continued to decline from 47 percent in 2007 to 44 percent in
the racial wealth gap narrowed slightly between 2010 and 2011,
households of color still fall far behind white households. They have
approximately one-tenth the median net worth of white households
($12,377 and $110,637, respectively) and are considerably less likely to
own a home. The homeownership rate for households of color is 26
percentage points lower than the rate for white households (46 percent
and 72 percent, respectively).
eight states (Maryland, New York, Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut,
Washington, Minnesota and Rhode Island) have adopted 50 percent or more
of the 67 policies that can support family financial security.
Meanwhile, seven states (Idaho, Missouri, South Dakota, Alabama, Alaska,
Mississippi and Wyoming) have adopted fewer than one-quarter of the
# # #
Center for Public Policy Priorities is
a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy institute committed to improving public
policies to make a better Texas. You can learn more about us at CPPP.org.
low- and moderate-income households to build and preserve assets by
advancing policies and programs that help them achieve the American
Dream, including buying a home, pursuing higher education, starting a
business and saving for the future. As a leading source for data about
household financial security and policy solutions, CFED understands what
families need to succeed. We promote programs on the ground and invest
in social enterprises that create pathways to financial security and
opportunity for millions of people. Established in 1979 as the
Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and
internationally through its offices in Washington, DC; Durham, North
Carolina; and San Francisco, California.
improve policies and programs that promote financial security and
opportunity, CFED is the backbone organization for a national Assets
& Opportunity Network, which is comprised of more than 1,300
advocates, service providers, researchers, financial institutions and
others representing all 50 states and DC. To learn more about the Assets
& Opportunity Network, visit http://assetsandopportunity.org/network.
the statewide asset-building coalition, includes several statewide
organizations such as AARP Texas, CPPP, Texas Appleseed, United Ways of
Texas, and numerous community-based and faith-based organizations as
well as for-profit partners, including several financial institution
partners. Texas currently has two lead local organizations, YWCA of
Metropolitan Dallas and United Way of Greater Houston.
For more information on local efforts to increase financial success, contact:
Woody Widrow, RAISE Texas (Lead State Organization in the Assets & Opportunity Network), 512.705.9063
Jennifer Ware, YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas (Lead Local Organization in the Assets & Opportunity Network), 214.584.2314
Renee C. Lee, United Way of Greater Houston (Lead Local Organization in the Assets & Opportunity Network), 713.685.2380
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