Community Dividend

Latest CFED scorecard shows persistently high rates of financial insecurity

Published April 1, 2013  |  April 2013 issue

Rates of personal financial insecurity continue to be alarmingly high in the United States, according to CFED’s 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. Last released in 2012, the scorecard is a data-based assessment of the financial security and economic circumstances of American households. CFED uses data from multiple sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the Mortgage Bankers Association, to grade and rank all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 69 outcome measures grouped in five categories: Financial Assets and Income, Businesses and Jobs, Housing and Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.

Among its many findings, the 2013 scorecard reveals that for the second year in a row, nearly half (44 percent) of households in the U.S. lack a personal safety net to protect them from financial emergencies. Twenty-six percent of households are "net worth asset poor," which CFED defines as having debts that outweigh their assets, and 56 percent of households do not qualify for short-term credit at "prime" rates. The scorecard also shows huge discrepancies in assets and financial security by race. For example, the median net worth of households of color was $10,824, less than one-tenth of the $110,973 median net worth of white households.

The 2013 scorecard’s findings and analyses are available at www.assetsandopportunity.org/scorecard, a web site featuring an interactive map that displays detailed state-by-state outcome measures. The site also offers a summary report of the 2013 scorecard results, titled Living on the Edge: Financial Insecurity and Policies to Rebuild Prosperity in America, and a tool that enables users to create customized reports and graphics from the scorecard findings.

CFED, formerly known as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, is a national nonprofit organization that promotes asset building and economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income people. Its 2013 scorecard is the sixth such assessment the organization has released since 2002.

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