Study: Half of Texas Households Financially Insecure

By Corrie MacLaggan, The Texas Tribune

Published 01/30 2014 05:36PM

Updated 01/30 2014 05:38PM

Half of Texas households are one crisis away from poverty, according to a new report that ranks the state 37th in residents' overall financial security.

The report released Thursday by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that seeks to create economic opportunity, defines “liquid-asset poor” as lacking enough savings to pay for three months of basic expenses in case of a crisis such as a job loss.

In Texas, 49.8 percent of households are liquid-asset poor, compared to 43.5 percent in the nation as a whole, the study says. Texas ranks 30th in the country for liquid-asset poverty.

“Despite steady job growth and low unemployment rates, many Texas residents are still struggling with persistent financial insecurity and have difficulty moving up the economic ladder,” said Tim Morstad, manager of advocacy and outreach for AARP Texas.

Many middle-class households are among those considered liquid-asset poor, according to the report, 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. A majority of Texans who live below the federal poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four are considered financially insecure, as are nearly a third of households earning between $54,049 and $90,468 a year.

The report also ranks Texas 42nd for its percentage of low-wage jobs – 27.8 percent.

Bill Peacock, vice president of research at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, said that the report fails to take into account the fact that people who can’t find jobs in other states are able to find jobs in Texas.

“Texas gives people the chance to get out of poverty because they can work here,” Peacock said. “The report misses a lot when it comes to the welfare of Texans.”

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