(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.