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Millions of Americans Remain Vulnerable to Financial Shock According to 2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard

When the media covers the economy, it most often reports on fluctuations in the stock market, employment numbers and GDP growth. While these are important, they often hide other key outcomes about America’s financial well-being. The economy may be growing, but do enough Americans own a home, the key building block to economic mobility across generations? New jobs are being created, but are people being paid adequate wages?

The 2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard, which is now available, allows you to explore these finer details with an easy-to-use, interactive platform. You’ll find 78 outcome measures and 28 policy measures across five thematic areas: financial assets and income; businesses and jobs; homeownership and housing; health care; and education. Twenty-six of these can be broken down by race, and 14 provide data for people with disabilities. This video explains how to navigate the Scorecard.

As highlighted in the Scorecard’s accompanying report, Vulnerability in the Face of Economic Uncertainty, this year’s Scorecard data shows an alarming level of financial precarity in America:

  • Forty percent of households are liquid asset poor, meaning they lack the savings to weather a financial shock.
  • Twenty percent of jobs don’t provide a living wage.
  • Twenty percent of households have significant income fluctuations from month to month.
  • 13.2 percent of all households fall behind on their bills.
  • Twenty percent of households don’t have access to mainstream credit.

These findings only scratch the surface. Learn more by reading the full report.

The racial disparity in these outcomes is cause for further alarm. For example, 62.7 percent of Black households and 62.5 percent of Latino households are liquid asset poor, in contrast to 31.7 percent of White households and 27.9 percent of Asian households*. For almost every measure that can be disaggregated by race, there is a significant gap in outcomes.

To better account for racial disparity in this year’s Scorecard, we updated our outcome ranking methodology. Each state receives two rankings: one for financial outcomes for all residents, and another for the extent of racial disparity in Scorecard outcomes. These ranks are then combined—with 60 percent weight given to the overall outcomes and 40 percent weight given to the racial disparity outcomes—to form the Scorecard rank. Read more about our ranking system and how your state ranks in another accompanying brief, Account for Race: A New Way to Compare the Financial Health of Households in States

I was alarmed to see that Washington, DC, where I was born and currently live, ranks 47th!  

After being informed with fresh data, the next step is to push for policy changes that enable a brighter future. With the Scorecard, you can download one-pagers on how your state is performing on outcome and policy measures, compare that data with other states and present them to your community or elected officials to push for new legislation. 

You can help spread the word about the Scorecard using our new toolkit, which includes images and messages you can share on social media. Join the conversation on social media using #ProsperityNowScorecard!

Access the 2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard.

* In the Scorecard, we report data for an aggregate Asian population, which includes people with ancestry from a large variety of countries: China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, and Pakistan to name some of the largest countries of ancestry. Using this definition of the Asian population, many Scorecard outcomes for Asian households nationally and in many states are close to or exceed outcomes for White households. While we use the aggregate statistic in the Scorecard because there is insufficient data to break out the data further in most states, we recognize that this category is too broad to be illustrative of the economic diversity within the Asian population in the United States.