New data released by CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development), a national partner of Economic Progress Institute, shows that too many Rhode Island families remain economically vulnerable. The 2016 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard ranks Rhode Island 35th nationally in the ability of residents to achieve financial security.
College debt, racial and income disparities in housing, and underemployment are among the many challenges leaving Rhode Islanders unable to meet financial obligations and save for a more prosperous future.
The Assets and Opportunity Scorecard offers a comprehensive look at Rhode Islanders’ ability to fend off poverty and build savings. It explores how well residents are faring in all 50 states and the District of Columbia across five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education.
Across five main issue areas, Rhode Island fares in the middle of the pack in four issue areas (Financial Assets and Income, Businesses and Jobs, Education, and Health Care) but nearly dead last for Housing and Homeownership.
Rhode Island’s outcome indicators point to a number of areas where improvements need to be made to improve the financial security of Ocean State families. Rhode Island scores very poorly (40th or worse) in 14 areas, including 8 indicators for housing/homeownership:
- Income inequality (46th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia)
- Business value by race (44th)
- Underemployment Rate (40th)
- Homeownership rate (46th)
- Homeownership by race (50th)
- Homeownership by income (51st)
- Homeownership by family structure (50th)
- Delinquent mortgage loans (49th)
- Affordability of homes (43rd)
- Housing cost burden – homeowners (46th)
- Housing cost burden – renters (45th)
- Uninsured by race (45th)
- Uninsured by gender (49th)
- Average college student debt (46th)
CFED also assesses policies that are helping residents build and protect assets in each state. Key policies that Rhode Islanders can adopt to provide greater opportunities for Rhode Island families include :
- Increasing the state Earned Income Tax Credit to 20 percent of the federal credit.
- Further Increasing the minimum wage.
- Providing protections from predatory lending such as payday loans.
These and other measures that boost family incomes will help families set aside savings while investing in assets such as a home.