Report: R.I. ranks near bottom for income inequality, near top for policy measures
Providence Business News
Jan 25, 2016
PROVIDENCE - The latest national annual “assets and opportunity” scorecard ranks Rhode Island 35th in outcomes, despite a ranking of eighth in policy measures, according to a report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development released Monday.
The CFED, a national partner of Rhode Island’s Economic Progress Institute, ranks Rhode Island in the middle of the 50 states and District of Columbia for financial assets and income, business and jobs, education and health care, but close to last for housing and home ownership. Rhode Island scores very poorly (40th or worse) in 14 areas ranging from income inequality (46th), home ownership by race (50th), home ownership by income (51st) and home ownership by family structure (50th).
“We see the economic vulnerability of Rhode Island families in wage and income data (as shown in our recent State of Working Rhode Island: Workers of Color report),” observed Doug Hall, director of economic and fiscal policy at the institute. “Until Rhode Islanders have good jobs that pay economy-boosting wages, they won’t be able to set aside savings or invest in homes or businesses.”
Rhode Island also falls in the bottom 11 rankings in three of the six outcome measures for disparities by race/ethnicity. National data show stark disparities in wealth based on race and ethnicity. The lack of good state-based data on wealth prevents a full understanding of these disparities, which in turn prevent addressing the challenges with urgency, the CFED said.
“While Rhode Island clearly has much work to do to meet the state’s housing needs, we have significantly increased funding of programs to solve homelessness,” said Jim Ryczek, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. “We need to match that progress with investments that provide housing options for all Rhode Islanders.”
CFED has been publishing the scorecard since 2002. It serves as a benchmark in tracking policy and outcome measures, and highlights best practices in state policies addressing these areas. The Institute is a non-partisan research and policy organization that supports policies that improve economic security and opportunity for Rhode Islanders. For information, visit www.economicprogressri.org.