In Oakland, 17% of households live in poverty, but nearly three times as many (47%) are financially vulnerable. These “liquid asset poor” households do not have enough savings to live above the poverty level for just three months ($6,062) if they lose a job, face a medical crisis or suffer another type of income disruption. In Alameda County, 38% of all households are liquid asset poor, and communities of color fare even worse: 63% of African-American households and 69% of Hispanic households in Oakland are liquid asset poor.
Of households in Oakland earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually, 43% are liquid asset poor. This means that even among those earning what is considered a sustainable annual household income ($63,990 for a family of four in Alameda County), many are not saving. These households live in a state of persistent financial insecurity, one emergency away from falling into debt or even losing their home. The inability to bounce back from financial pitfalls not only hurts local families, but also stifles the region’s long-term economic growth.
These findings are part of a new brief from Family Assets Count, a project of CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development) and the Assets & Opportunity Initiative, in partnership with Citi Community Development, Alameda County Community Asset Network (ACCAN) and Urban Strategies Council. The analysis spotlights a range of challenges confronting families living in financial insecurity:
Taking on these challenges will require focus and collaboration among policymakers, advocates, practitioners and philanthropists to strengthen programs, services and policies that improve family financial stability in Oakland and Alameda County. Ensuring pathways to education, living wages and sustainable employment, along with empowering families to save for emergencies, invest for future goals and protect their assets, are essential for both Oakland and Alameda County households and critical to sustainable economic growth.
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 FamilyAssetsCount.org
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