Tuesday, July 25 marked the release of the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard. The Scorecard, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia along five indicators of financial security, also reports on the policies that enable or constrain states' capacity to perform well along the measures. A state’s outcome rank is determined by averaging its performance of each indicator — Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Homeownership & Housing, Healthcare, and Education. In 2017, Indiana averaged an outcome rank of 32, down from 30 in the 2016 Scorecard. As in 2016, Vermont ranked first while Mississippi ranked last.
Data from the Scorecard reveals that economic gains accrued since the recession disproportionately benefit wealthy families and that income and wealth inequality is especially pronounced between white households and households of color.
The Financial Assets & Income indicator reveals that, in Indiana, incomes of the top 20 percent of earners are 4.3 times higher than the incomes of the bottom 80 percent of earners. Additionally, the Scorecard reports that while 13.4 percent of households are considered income poor, households of color are 2.2 times more likely to be income poor than white households. 21.9 percent of households experience income volatility, 20 percent of households have zero net worth, and 23 percent of households are un- or under-banked. Despite the pressing need to mitigate the effects of financial insecurity, the Indiana legislature adopted only 5 out of 20 recommended policies in 2016 pertaining to the issue of Financial Assets & Income.
"There is a misconception that communities are thriving across the state, but as you can see in the 2017 Scorecard, many Hoosiers are still struggling to meet basic needs and build assets," said Kelsey Clayton, Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network Manager. In fact, more households are liquid asset poor (34.5 percent), meaning not able to subsist at the poverty threshold for 3 months utilizing existing assets, than income poor (13.4 percent).
In all five outcome categories, Indiana received a “C” for its relative performance against other states. The grade is consistent with the previous year. The lack of measurable progress in Indiana — though not unique to the state — should serve as a call to action for advocates, policymakers, and practitioners.
Prosperity Now uses national, state, county and city census data to create the Scorecard. The Scorecard interprets the data through the lens of financial security to facilitate conversations about the policies that put households on stronger financial footing. The Scorecard can orient stakeholders’ problem-solving toward achieving financial security in their communities — particularly among target populations, such as households of color, the un-banked, small business owners, single parent households, and more.
To access the Prosperity Now Scorecard and its interactive tools, visit their website.