2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

On January 30, CFED released its 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, the nation’s most comprehensive look at how American households are faring in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of their overall financial security. The 2013 Scorecard evidences a lingering problem for households today – while some progress has been made in ensuring financial security, a growing number (43.9%) of American families are living in liquid asset poverty, meaning they lack the means to meet their expenses for three months should a job loss or other emergency leave them without their primary source of income. In New Mexico, 53.7% of residents live in liquid asset poverty.

New Mexico ranks 42nd in the country overall in the ability of residents to achieve financial security. The Scorecard evaluates states across 53 measures within the five different issue areas. New Mexico earns an “F” in Education, with less than one in four 8th graders performing at or above proficient in math or reading. New Mexico also ranks 37th in the number of adults with four-year college degrees and 50th in disparities in 4-year degrees by race: white adults are three times more likely to have a college degree than people of color. New Mexico also received an “F” in health care, due in part to 23% of the population being uninsured (ranked 48th) and only 45% of people having employer-provided health insurance coverage, the lowest rate in the nation. The state’s high homeownership rate (68%) and the nation’s lowest level of disparity in homeownership rates by race earned New Mexico a “B” in Housing & Homeownership. New Mexicans also ranked 14th in average credit card debt, with the average borrower owing $8,055.

Although our state doesn’t perform well in each category (every state has at least some room for improvement), that’s not to suggest that there aren’t clear, manageable steps we can take to improve the financial opportunities afforded to families across the state. Along with the data, the Scorecard includes concrete recommendations for actions that lawmakers can take in the immediate future, as well as criteria for what constitutes strong state-level policies.

WHAT NEW MEXICO CAN DO

  • Promote Asset Building and Consumer Protections: To reduce asset poverty, New Mexico should promote long-term savings habits by reinstating funding for its state Individual Development Account and support Children Savings Account programs. To protect unbanked and underbanked households from predatory financial products, the state should prohibit or cap interest rates on payday, auto-title and short-term installment loans.
  • Invest in Entrepreneurs: To increase microenterprise and small business ownership, New Mexico should implement a Self-Employment Assistance program, use federal block grants to support microenterprise development and create a State Microenterprise Association.
  • Increase College Attainment: To increase the number of people with two- and four year college degrees, New Mexico should encourage college savings by matching deposits into 529 accounts and remove barriers to saving for low-income students.

To read the main findings of the 2013 Scorecard, full data rankings and methodology, as well as to create a customized report for New Mexico and 50 other states, visit scorecard.cfed.org.