Vermont gets an ‘A’ for financial security of families

first_imgIndividuals and families in Arizona, South Carolina and the Delta states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas lag behind the rest of the country in key aspects related to their financial stability, including measures of net worth, homeownership and housing affordability, business ownership, health insurance coverage and academic achievement. These states received an overall grade of “F” on the 2009-2010Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, which rates states not only on poverty and job figures, but also on a broad set of categories and measures related to sustained prosperity. The Scorecard was released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national economic nonprofit.CFED’s Assets & Opportunity Scorecard — online at scorecard.cfed.org — measures the financial security of families in the United States by looking at the whole picture of asset ownership and protecting against financial setbacks. The Scorecard ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 58 performance measures in the areas of Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education. In addition, the Scorecard also assesses states on the strength of its policies to help individuals and families build financial security.”As the country recovers from this recession and tries to build a more durable and robust economy, decision makers need to look at a broad picture of where Americans stand, and what policies are in place to address economic vulnerabilities. The Scorecard provides that perspective,” said CFED President Andrea Levere. Levere also pointed out that every state has weak areas, and that even the states that received “F” grades perform well in some categories.Nationally, the Scorecard notes that even before the current recession, economic vulnerability was increasing, especially among low- and middle-income families. Among the findings:While U.S. households overall registered a 27% increase in net worth between 2004 and 2006, median net worth fell during that period for the 40% of U.S. households earning less than $37,000 a year.The number of individuals with employer-provided health insurance fell sharply, to 60.9% from 63.2%, leaving more Americans vulnerable and financially unprepared for health emergencies.Between 2006 and 2008, median amount of revolving debt, including credit card debt, rose 64% from $1,805 to $2,960.While more than one in eight households live below the federal income poverty line, nearly double that amount (22.5%) are asset poor, meaning they have insufficient assets to stay out of poverty for three months in the event of job loss. More than 14% of American households live in extreme asset poverty, meaning they have zero or negative net worth.For every dollar in wealth held by white households, African-American households have 10 cents and Latino households have 15 cents.The national leaders on the 2009-2010 Scorecard — those states that earned an overall “A” in performance measures — were Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Grades and detailed data for all states is available at scorecard.cfed.org.By comparing the states, the Scorecard not only highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each state, but it also exposes the wide differences between states on a number of items directly tied to financial prosperity. Some of the findings include:More than 22% of jobs in this country are in occupations that pay a median wage that is insufficient to raise the earner’s household above the poverty line. In West Virginia, 38.5% of jobs are low-wage. Washington, D.C. has the lowest percentage of low-wage jobs at 7.2%.The highest homeownership rate is in Minnesota (nearly 75%) while New York has the lowest homeownership rate at 53%.The average home in Kansas costs about twice the median income of a Kansan; in Massachusetts, the average home runs six times the state’s median income.89.6% of employers in Hawaii offer health care benefits to their employees compared with only 40.1% of those in Montana.More than 91% of the people in Massachusetts have health insurance while only 72.5% of Texans are insured.The Scorecard includes a detailed look of state-to-state information on 12 policy priorities that can help residents build and protect assets. Information on each of these policies — which range from first-time homebuyer assistance and payday lending protections to college savings incentives and access to health insurance — is available atscorecard.cfed.org. While every state has enacted at least a handful of these policies, the Scorecard’s assessment of these policies shows there is significant room for improvement.”These policy priorities are not radical ideas, but things that many states are trying right now,” Levere said. “But when we look at the funding, the scope of their efforts and the enforcement of regulations, we find that in most cases states haven’t been putting a very strong commitment into their efforts.”As part of its Scorecard work, CFED has formed partnerships with advocacy organizations in 25 states to utilize theScorecard to educate policy makers and the public on policies that can help Americans build and protect assets and financial security, and to improve policies at the state level.CFED expands economic opportunity by helping Americans and their children build assets, save for the future, start and grow businesses, pursue education and become homeowners. We identify, refine and help realize good ideas and develop partnerships to promote lasting change. We bring together community practice, public policy and private markets in new and effective ways to achieve greater economic impact. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, DC; Durham, North Carolina; and San Francisco, California.To stay up-to-date on the latest news from CFED, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CFEDNews(link is external).To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/cfed/39626/(link is external)(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090921/NY78564(link is external) )Source: CFED. WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2009 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more

US coronavirus cases top 6 million as Midwest, schools face outbreaks

first_imgUS cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 6 million on Sunday as many states in the Midwest reported increasing infections, according to a Reuters tally.Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota have recently reported record one-day increases in new cases while Montana and Idaho are seeing record numbers of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients.Nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and the positivity rates of tests are all declining, but there are emerging hotspots in the Midwest. Topics : More than eight months into the pandemic, the United States continues to struggle with testing. The number of people tested has fallen in recent weeks.Many health officials and at least 33 states have rejected the new COVID-19 testing guidance issued by the Trump administration last week that said those exposed to the virus and without symptoms may not need testing.Public health officials believe the United States needs to test more frequently to find asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers to slow the spread of the disease.While the United States has the most recorded infections in the world, it ranks tenth based on cases per capita, with Brazil, Peru and Chile having higher rates of infection, according to a Reuters tally.The United States also has the most deaths in the world at nearly 183,000 and ranks 11th for deaths per capita, exceeded by Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Chile, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Peru.center_img Many of the new cases in Iowa are in the counties that are home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, which are holding some in-person classes. Colleges and universities around the country have seen outbreaks after students returned to campus, forcing some to switch to online-only learning.New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said his state was sending a “SWAT team” to a State University of New York (SUNY) campus in Oneonta in upstate New York to contain a COVID-19 outbreak. Fall classes, which started last week at the college, were suspended for two weeks after more than 100 people tested positive for the virus, about 3% of the total student and faculty population, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said.”We have had reports of several large parties of our students at Oneonta last week, and unfortunately because of those larger gatherings, there were several students who were symptomatic of COVID,” Malatras said.Across the Midwest, infections have also risen after an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota drew more than 365,000 people from across the country from Aug. 7 to 16. The South Dakota health department said 88 cases have been traced to the rally.last_img read more