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Report: Nearly Half of Americans Have No Safety Net to Keep Them Out of Poverty

Nearly a third of Americans live with no savings account at all.
 
 
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A new report reveals a fact that too many Americans are familiar with first-hand: nearly half of the nation's residents have no safety net to protect them from falling into poverty in the event of a layoff or other financial misfortune.

The recently published Assets & Opportunities Scorecard from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) shows that "[n]early 44 percent of Americans don't have enough savings or other liquid assets to stay out of poverty for more than three months if they lose their income," as NPR summarized. At the same time, nearly a third of Americans live with no savings account at all.

The nonprofit [CFED] tries to help low- and moderate-income families achieve the American dream. The group's president, Andrea Levere, says that's not easy when all your energy goes into paying the rent and buying food.

"It's only when you have those basic needs satisfied that you then can think, 'How do I make sure I have the best education for my children? How do I make sure I have the skills I need to be more competitive in the workplace?' " says Levere.

The report also looks at how individual states rank in terms of household financial security, factoring in scores for financial assets and income, businesses and jobs, housing and homeownership, health care, and education. According to the scorecard, states in the Northeast and Midwest have some of the highest rankings and states in the South some of the lowest. Just take a look at this map to see the financial inequality; it's a pretty striking image (reds and oranges mean higher financial security, while grays mean lower).


Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, Time Out New York, the L Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter.
 
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