New data from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) show that our state’s growing economy is not providing sufficient economic opportunity for all Texans. CFED’s annual Assets & Opportunity Scorecard ranks Texas at or near the bottom among all states on key measures of the ability of residents to achieve financial security, and several of these indicators are getting worse.
Below are some low points:
- Income poverty (36th)
- Households without bank accounts (41st)
- Consumers with subprime credit (47th)
- Student loan default rate (44th)
- Low wage jobs (40th)
- Homeownership rate (43rd)
- High school degree attainment (50th)
Troubling Downward Trend
When we look at these same data points before the Great Recession in 2006 and 2007, we find that there’s been a troubling downward trend in some indicators assessing the financial health of our residents. One bright spot is that there has been some improvement in educational attainment.
Texas’ poor rankings on these indicators of economic health and mobility underscore the need for Texas government leaders to create policies that help hardworking state residents save and invest in a better future for themselves and the state.
Policy Solutions Can Make a Difference
The good news is that there are policy solutions available today that could improve economic conditions for Texans, including:
- Reforming predatory lending practices that trap consumers in a cycle of debt and further impede their ability to save and build assets.
- Establishing pre-Kindergarten as a full-day program for currently eligible students to set kids up for long-term financial security.
- Fully funding need-based aid directed at two-year and four-year college students, and expanding adult education and job training programs that connect residents to higher‐paying employment opportunities.
- Helping all families save for college by enabling schools to offer college savings accounts in conjunction with Texas’ new financial education curriculum.
- Advancing a Texas approach to closing the health care coverage gap.
Despite Texas’ growing economy and population, we continue to rank toward the bottom of states on the economic health of our residents. Common sense policy solutions will enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential and keep our state economically competitive for generations to come.
Interested in how your area compares to other places in Texas? Check out the Texas Regional Opportunity Index to find out how economically competitive and financially healthy your area is, using data on Credit and Debt, Economic Development and Jobs, Education and more.