R.I. ranks No. 40 for financial security, plagued by disparity

Rhode Island ranked 40th among the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for overall financial security of its residents in the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard released Thursday by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. (Updated, 3:10 p.m.) More

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R.I. ranks No. 40 for financial security, plagued by disparity

COURTESY CORPORATION FOR ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
IN RHODE ISLAND, 38.7 percent of households are considered financially insecure, compared with 43.5 percent nationwide, according to a Corporation for Enterprise Development report released Thursday. Overall, Rhode Island ranked 40th in the country for financial security in terms of assets and income, businesses and jobs, housing and homeownership, health care, and education.
Posted 1/30/14

(Updated, 3:10 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranked 40th among the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for overall financial security of its residents in the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard released Thursday by the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

According to the report, 38.7 percent of Rhode Island households remain in a persistent state of financial insecurity, significantly higher than last year’s 27.8 percent.

CFED defines “financial security” as having adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for three months, in the event of an emergency such as job loss or health crisis. A family of four, for example, would need to have $5,887 in savings to be considered financially secure.

In addition, Rhode Islanders hold the fourth-highest average credit card debt in the country, at $10,221, and the seventh-highest average college graduate debt, at $31,156.

“It is clear that a large number of residents are barely able to keep their head above water in the Ocean State,” said Kate Brewster, executive director of the Economic Progress Institute in Providence, an affiliate of CFED. “This is not just about Rhode Islanders living in poverty, but also about a growing number of middle-income households who are unable to save and invest in the future.”

The state’s overall rank at No. 40 was derived from Rhode Island’s scores in five categories related to financial security. In those categories, Rhode Island received the following rankings:

  • Financial Assets & Income: No. 27
  • Businesses & Jobs: No. 37
  • Housing & Homeownership: No. 49
  • Health Care: No. 23
  • Education: No. 39

Rhode Island’s worst grade was in the category of housing & homeownership. The Ocean State’s homeownership rate of 60 percent is the sixth-lowest in the country, according to CFED, and disparity of homeownership rate by race and income ranked Rhode Island 49th and 50th, respectively.

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harry1185@cox.net

This is a dismal report. Unfortunately, the answer is not always to react to such reports by simply providing additional public assistance. While we should take care of those who are genuinely in need, the real answer is to get rid of the many regulations, fees and taxes that make this a business-unfriendly state. The only long lasting and humane way to help the many who are unable to find jobs is to bring business to the State. Increased welfare programs are not the answer, particularly for a State this size. The small number of people who are making a living are unable to bear the burden of supporting the others, no matter how generous in spirit they are. Most Rhode Islanders are good, hard-working people. They just can't take on more personal taxes and debt. Until our political leaders get it through their heads that they are killing business with short-sighted programs that discourage present business owners, prevent new business from coming here, and generate the out-migration of those who could help here, we will never see a solution to the problem.

Thursday, January 30 | Report this
jraymond

None of the recommendations from the Economic Progress Institute will help create a job, improve the lives of Rhode Islanders or influence a company to move to the Ocean State.

After all these years this is proof positive that the actions of our politicians have been a dramatic failure.

Drop the taxes and regulations that have killed this economy and allow the people of this state to grow instead of offering scraps.

Friday, January 31 | Report this
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