Assets for All

Assets for All

For every dollar owned by the average white family in the US, the average family of color has less than a dime.  Wealth, not income alone, may be the most important index of inequality in America.”  [1]

 Goal:  Seed a future for every child in New Mexico with Child Savings Accounts (CSA’s) by 2015.

Rationale:  The stark contrast in opportunities and outcomes for low wealth families may be overcome by seeding a future for ALL children.

Context: Prosperity Works advocates for structural change that will increase opportunities of those who are the least well off politically, economically and socially.  To develop high impact, comprehensive, asset-based social policy in New Mexico, we lead a partnership that includes 14 financial institutions, 31 Community Based Organizations (CBOs), a free tax preparation network and a cadre of financial educators and coaches.  The outcome of these strategies is to decrease costs and increase income so that savings and asset formation is possible.

Facts that HURT:

  • The gap in standardized test scores between high and low income students is up 40% since the 1960’s.  This testing gap is now double that which exists between whites and black students.
  • High income families spend 9 times as much on educational enrichment programs than low income families
  • Between birth and age 6, high income families spend 13,000 hours more in literacy activities with children than low income families
  • Until 1970, fewer than 1 in 10 young adults had completed less education than their parents.  By the 1990’s that number grew to 2 in 10, or doubled.[2]
  • Imbalance between rich and poor in college completion — the single most important predictor of workforce success — has grown by 50% since the 1980’s.

[1]     The Color of Wealth was completed before the economic downturn, and foreclosure crisis.  It is now believed that the disparity is 5 cents to the dollar.

[2]    Whiter Opportunity? 2012