Latest Assets & Opportunity Scorecard ranks NC 45th among states

January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am 1 comment

CFED released its latest Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, which looks at financial security of Americans and their access to economic opportunities. The Scorecard looks at 102 outcome and policy measures, including income, net worth, assets, business ownership, homeownership, housing burden, heath care coverage, and education.

The Scorecard looks at these indicators nationally and also by state. Overall, North Carolina ranks 45th among all the states. When it comes to financial assets and income, the state is ranked 37th, and is graded a D.

  • 16.2% of North Carolinians are living with income poverty
  • 26.8% are “asset poor” which means they cannot cover basic expenses for three months in the absence of an income
  • 49.9% are “liquid asset poor,” which means they lack those assets that they could liquidate quickly– bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc– in the case of an emergency

asset-poverty-chart-NC

Even more troubling, North Carolina is ranked 49th and given an F grade for businesses and jobs. 16.1 percent of the population owns a microenterprise, ranking the state 41st, and 1.32 percent own a small business, ranking the state 41st.  The business ownership rate is 2.1 times higher for white workers compared to workers of color. Nationally, the rate is 1.5 times higher for white workers. Business ownership is also 2.7 times higher for men.

The scorecard has many more indicators and rankings, which together do not paint a very rosy picture for our state or for the nation. The findings give evidence for what we know is happening in communities and families everywhere– too many are still struggling to overcome their economic challenges, and unable to access opportunities to build financial security. As we’ve said repeatedly, a true and solid economic recovery will  not be possible as long as so many of our citizens continue to face such formidable challenges.

CFED does provide some solutions for the state– strengthening financial security by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit or supporting savings programs, promoting job security by preserving unemployment insurance and extending wage subsidies, broadening access to heath care, and stabilizing affordable and accessible housing.  Included in the job security solutions is that the state should support the development of microenterprises among women and people of color, in order for them to create jobs for themselves and for others. This is exactly what CDFIs (community development financial institutions) and other smaller community-based lenders are working to do. The report we published in December shows that CDFIs are a critical player in expanding access to capital to small businesses that are increasingly left out of the financial mainstream.

There is much work to be done before the scorecard will present a better outlook, but there clearly are steps that can be taken to get us started on that path.

 

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Entry filed under: CDFI, Economic Development, Economy, Jobs & Employment, Small Business. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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