Despite headlines touting America’s booming economy, the reality is that millions in the US are living in financial uncertainty. An alarming number of families do not having the resources to withstand an economic downturn, which many analysts predict is around the corner.
The 2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard shows that too many families are either struggling to make ends meet, or are just one emergency away from a financial disaster. Forty percent of American households lack a basic level of savings. According to the Scorecard data, these “liquid asset poor” households don’t even have enough savings to live at the poverty level for three months if their income was interrupted. The data is even worse for people of color, with nearly 57% of households of color being liquid asset poor.
For the first time, the 2019 Scorecard ranks U.S. states on racial disparities—the gaps in 26 outcome measures between White residents and residents of color—and factors this into a state’s overall performance. Prosperity Now is increasing its focus on racial economic inequality because, as the data illustrates, structural inequality in the United States means that race and ethnicity have an outsized impact on economic well-being. Black, Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander people fare worse across all Scorecard outcomes and issues.
The Scorecard also examines the policy choices of lawmakers at all levels of government. Additionally, it illustrates how those choices affect the ability of households—especially households of color and those with limited income—to create a more prosperous future. The Scorecardrecommends policies that first and foremost serve the individuals and families whose lives they intend to improve while also building economic strength and resiliency in the broader communities where we live together.