Paycheck-To-Paycheck Living In D.C.
Even though D.C. has one of the most robust job markets in the country, its residents remain some of the most asset-poor, according to a new report:
The 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard ranked the District 24th in the country overall for how their residents fare in terms of achieving financial security across 52 measures in five different issue areas. Many of DC’s residents have jobs, but they lack adequate savings or other assets to cover expenses for three months if they lose a steady income. Asset poverty, the Scorecard’s signature measure, is a conservative estimate of financial security since it counts all assets, including those—such as a home—that would need to be liquidated to be used for day-to-day needs. DC’s asset poverty rate is much higher compared to its neighboring states with 20% of Maryland’s residents asset poor and 21% of Virginia’s residents.
For the record, it's always tricky comparing the District to states—it might make better sense to compare D.C. to cities of comparable size. But that said, it's really amazing to note that 38.7 percent of District residents are extremely asset-poor (meaning: they have zilch to help them in a crisis) compared to less than 20 percent of U.S. residents. Plus, 12.2 percent of D.C. households don't have any bank accounts, compared to 7.7 percent of all American households.
What's particularly interesting though, is that folks who lack assets don't seem to be displaying significantly worse financial habits than the rest of the country. Only a slightly higher percentage of D.C. residents have "subprime credit," compared to all Americans: It's at 56.7 percent, compared to the national average of 55.8 percent. And the bankruptcy rate is far lower. Only 2 out of every 1,000 residents in the city has filed for bankruptcy—compared to 5 out of every 1,000 nationwide.