The 2019 Scorecard published by Prosperity Now provides data on household financial health and racial economic inequality. The Scorecard concludes that while there has been some progress made over recent years, too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Further, large wealth and racial disparities are holding many Americans, particularly people of color, back from prosperity.
As part of the release of the Scorecard, Prosperity Now published both a national and state report. Some of the national key findings are:
- More families are struggling to cover their living expenses, with Black and Latino families disproportionately affected. 22.5% of jobs in the United States are low-wage jobs, meaning they pay below the poverty threshold for a family of four.
- There remains large disparities in homeownership and wealth between white and nonwhite households. 71.9% of White households are homeowners, while only 41.4% of Black households, 47.2% of Latino households, 59.6% of Asian households, and 54.4% of Native American households are homeowners. Since homes represent the largest source of wealth for most Americans, this difference in homeownership rates demonstrates a large racial wealth disparity. Consequently, people of color have lower net worth and less opportunity for economic mobility.
- Families do not have adequate emergency reserves, leaving them vulnerable when unexpected household expenses or market volatility occur. Black and Latinos households are twice as likely than white households to be “liquid asset poor,” or a household’s inability to replace income at the poverty level for three months using savings or liquid assets.
- More families are turning to credit to pay household expenses, however almost half (48.1%) are unable to access the best rates due to subprime credit scores. Further, those who are unable to access mainstream sources of credit often turn to alternative financial services, such as payday loans.
- The rate of uninsured across the country is rising. In particular, the rate of uninsured low-income children has increased from 6.1% in 2016 to 6.9% in 2017.
Prosperity Now outlines federal policy solutions to elevate and begin to tackle the inequities highlighted by the Scorecard. These recommendations include protecting important government programs that benefit low- and moderate- income families, supporting affordable homeownership opportunities, and increasing wealth-growing opportunities for children.