In the latest Assets & Opportunity Scorecard released this January, North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation from a household financial security perspective – only faring better than South Carolina (47th), Alabama (48th), Georgia (49th), Nevada (50th), and Mississippi (51st).
Published annually by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard offers the most comprehensive look available at Americans’ ability to save and build wealth, stay out of poverty and create a more prosperous future. It also includes data on the growing number of families who are “liquid asset poor,” meaning they lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for just three months if they suffer a loss of stable income.
Despite an improving national economy, 51.5% of North Carolina households are in a persistent state of financial insecurity. The number of households who have little or no savings to cover emergencies or to start building a better life has continued to increase, continuing a four year upward trend in family financial insecurity, and rising from last year’s 50% level.
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.
North Carolina received an “F” in Businesses & Jobs, and placed in the bottom three states in the issue area. The “F” rating in Businesses & Jobs was a result of North Carolina’s ranking of 42nd in small business ownership rate and 42nd in disparities in business ownership by race, with white residents more than twice as likely to own a business as residents of color. The state also ranked 43rd in unemployment, with its 8.6% rate much higher than the national average.
North Carolina received a “D” in Health Care, with the 37th highest percentage of uninsured residents and the 30th and 44th highest rates of uninsured low-income children and parents, respectively.
The state received a “C” in Financial Assets & Income, meaning many residents are not building wealth or achieving economic security. Over 30% of North Carolina households are not connected to the financial mainstream. Over 9% of adults do not own a bank account; they get all or most of their financial services from check cashers and other non-bank “alternative” providers, or they rely entirely on cash.
In Education, North Carolina received a “C”.