Nevadans may not be on the edge of financial disaster anymore, but their personal finances remain among the worst in the country, with many residents unable to “build a secure economic future,” a new report says.
The state is racked by some of the highest rates of lousy consumer credit, bankruptcies, foreclosures, underemployment, mortgage delinquencies and uninsured residents.
That’s on top of Nevada’s many education woes, including a near-bottom high-school graduation rate, one of lowest shares of residents with college degrees, and below-average rates of middle-school math and reading skills.
That’s all according to the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group for lower-income Americans.
In its annual Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, the group ranked Nevada’s overall economic health 48th among the states and the District of Columbia. In many ways, Nevada has stronger-than-average consumer policies, but many residents “lack the most basic tools to save and build a secure economic future,” the report said.
It’s a grim picture but, remarkably, slightly better than the past few years.
In its 2014 report, CFED ranked Nevada’s financial health 50th in the country, saying more than half of households statewide were in a “persistent state of financial insecurity,” with little or no savings to cover basic costs in the event of a job loss, health crisis or other emergency.
And in 2013, CFED ranked Nevada 51st — dead last — and said a majority of residents were living “on the edge of financial disaster” with almost no savings to fall back on.
For its report this year, CFED compiled data on 67 issues across five main categories. It gave letter grades for those five, and Nevada was at or near the bottom of each.
The Silver State got an “F” in businesses and jobs, and a “D” in the other categories — financial assets and income; housing and homeownership; health care; and education.
CFED also ranked states on their policies for each category, and Nevada, for the most part, fared considerably better.
Its policies ranked 49th in financial assets and income — Nevada offers no protection against high-interest, “predatory” short-term lenders, CFED found — but ranked 24th in housing and homeownership; 18th in education; 17th in businesses and jobs; and sixth in health care.
Here’s a sampling of CFED’s findings on Nevada:
• 66.6 percent of residents have subprime credit scores, second-highest rate in the country. People with subprime credit often don’t qualify for loans at typical rates and are more likely to use high-interest, last-resort financing such as payday lenders.
• 24.7 percent of households are “underbanked,” eighth-highest in the nation. This refers to households that have a bank account but, in the past year, also used payday loans, auto-title loans, check-cashing stores or other high-interest financing.
• 4.8 out of every 1,000 people file for bankruptcy, seventh-highest in the nation.
• 15.9 percent of residents are underemployed, highest in the country. This includes people who want to work full-time but are stuck in part-time jobs.
• 3.46 percent of borrowers are behind on their mortgage, third-highest in the country.
• 23.6 percent of Nevadans are uninsured, also third-highest.
• 28.3 percent of eighth-grade students are proficient in math, 11th-lowest in the nation.
• 22.5 percent of residents have a four-year college degree, fourth-lowest.
• 70.7 percent is the high-school graduation rate, fifth-lowest.
Note: The dataset provided uses third quarter data from the previous year, so 2015 data is actually from the third quarter of 2014.
Note: Percentage of jobs in occupations with median annual pay below 100% poverty threshold for a family of four.
Note: Nevada ranked last among all the states for the largest percent of underemployed. Underemployed is defined as part-time workers who want to be working full-time, and job-seekers who have looked for work at least once in the last 12 months as well as discouraged workers.
Note: Average annual pay for all workers covered by unemployment insurance, adjusted for the cost of living in the state.
Note: Percentage of wage and salary workers (ages 21-64) who participated in an employment-based retirement plan.