State Gets Mixed Grades in Opportunity Report
Jan 29, 2015
Earlier this week, my colleague Janet Tu wrote about how Washington has been among the most unbalanced among the states in a recovery where all the gains have gone to the 1 percent. Today we can dig deeper into where the state stands with the new Asset and Opportunity Scorecard from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a nonprofit that focuses on increasing opportunity for low-income families.
Overall, Washington ranked 14th nationally, two spots better than last year. We received a B grade in Financial Assets and Income; A in Business and Jobs; C in Housing and Homeownership; C in Healthcare, and A in Education.
The Scorecard looks at 67 measures in five separate areas (Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education). Here’s how Washington fared in some of them:
- Third in the number of households with savings accounts, with 82 percent vs. 69 percent of households nationally. But the state ranked 44th in credit-card debt.
- Third in low-wage jobs, at 11.3 percent of all jobs compared with more than 25 percent nationally.
- Ninth in average annual pay, at $51,405 vs. $49,808 nationally.
- Only 47.1 percent of employers offered health insurance compared with nearly 50 percent nationally. Washington ranked 37th.
- Forty-second in homeownership rates. This is partly because of affordability challenges. The median home value of a home is 4.3 times higher than median income.
Even though the state received an A in the Business and Jobs category, it ranked 47th in microenterprise ownership.
Seventh in math proficiency and eighth in reading, helping the state earn an A in Education. Forty-two percent of Washington eighth graders were proficient in those areas compared with 36 percent nationally.
Alaska ranked seventh overall, followed by Idaho 12th and Oregon 22nd. Low-population Wyoming, benefiting from an energy boom, ranked first, followed by Vermont.