The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard offers the most comprehensive look available at Americans’ financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. The Scorecard is prepared by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national nonprofit dedicated to financial security and opportunity, and explores how well residents are faring in the 50 states and the District of Columbia and assesses state policies that are helping residents build and protect assets across five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education.
The 2012 Scorecard assesses states across 101 outcome and policy measures in the five areas to determine the ability of residents to achieve financial security. By many of those measures, Americans are struggling. It is clear that the recession and its aftermath have left unprecedented numbers of families barely able to make ends meet.
With America struggling, how well did Indiana perform under this scorecard?
According to the researchers, 14% of Hoosier households are poor, an 26% are asset poor meaning. Asset poor means they lack financial resources to cover financial emergencies (money in the bank, assets in a home or car).
What’s even more disheartening, the scorecard reveals that 42% of Hoosiers are liquid asset poor. Liquid asset poverty is a more realistic picture of the resources families have to meet emergency needs since it excludes assets such as a home, car or business that are not easily converted to cash.
These are not comfortable statistics to look at, and as we know, Muncie is most likely suffering from higher poverty levels than State averages due to our significant loss of our industrial base. Additional statistics from the scorecard include:
- 24% of jobs in Indiana are low-wage jobs
- 28% of homeowners are cost burdened
- 17% of Hoosiers are uninsured
- 17% of Hoosiers are underemployed
So, how do all these percentages equate into actually grades for the Hoosier state?
Our overall ranking was 35th out of 51 states, with a number 1 being the most desirable, and 51 being the least desirable. Our grades per each category are listed below:
- Financial Assets and Income – Rank 33, or C
- Businesses and Jobs – Rank 47, or F
- Housing and Home Ownership – Rank 24, or C
- Health Care – Rank 17, or B
- Education – Rank 45, or D
For detailed information about the grades, we’ve provided a PDF of the Indiana Scorecard – it can be downloaded at Indiana Scorecard.
What solutions should policy makers be focusing?
According to CFED,” To address poverty rates and boost net worth, Indiana should expand its Earned Income Tax Credit to maximize income for low-wage workers, and remove the disincentive for low-income families to save by lifting asset limits in public benefit programs.”
In addition, they also recommended, “To help address unemployment and underemployment, Indiana should support microenterprises to create jobs through self-employment.”
The researchers also mentioned that Indiana policy makers should be supporting and protecting homeowners foreclosure practices, and applauds the appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaus.
Since 1979, the national nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) has identified and advanced innovative ways to integrate more Americans into the economic mainstream. By moving more households into these proven methods of growing and protecting their assets, CFED has expanded economic opportunity and worked to strengthen America’s economic security. To learn more about CFED, visit their website at http://cfed.org/.