Family Assets Count: Chicago

Chicago Households

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Liquid Asset Poverty
49% Don’t have 3 months of savings to live above poverty level
Asset Poverty
33% Don’t have 3 months of net worth to live above poverty level
16% Don’t have a checking or savings account
25% Have a bank account but still use check cashing or pay day loans

In Chicago 20% of families live in poverty, but far more (49%) are financially vulnerable. These “liquid asset poor”families do not have enough savings to live above the poverty level for just three months if they lose a job, face a medical crisis or suffer another income disruption. Communities of color fair even worse: 67% of African American households and 71% of Hispanic households in Chicago are liquid asset poor.

These households live in a state of persistent financial insecurity – one emergency away from falling into debt or even losing a home. The inability to bounce back from financial pitfalls not only hurts Chicago families, it stifles the city’s long-term economic growth.

The findings are part of a new data analysis from Family Assets Count, a project of CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development) and the Assets & Opportunity Initiative in partnership with Citi Community Development and the Illinois Asset Building Group. The analysis spotlights a range of challenges confronting Chicago’s vulnerable families:

Families across the state are struggling to stay above water. A total of 1.8 million Illinois households (38%) are liquid asset poor. IABG and its partners are working to promote policy solutions at the state and local level including:

Through cutting edge data, tools and resources Family Assets Count leverages the power of cities to improve financial stability for families and advances programs and policies that reduce barriers and encourage families to save and build assets. For more information and data visit


Family Assets Count: Financial Insecurity in Chicago (PDF)

Data Snapshot (PDF)

Media Mentions

38% of Illinoisans One Financial Emergency Away from Poverty (The Rock River Times)

Financial Security for City's Kids Starts in the Classroom (Crain's Chicago Business)

Click here for a complete list of stories covering Family Assets Count.


A project of CFED in partnership with Citi Community Development.

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