Ohio is a state that represents the heartland of the country. From its popular sports teams to its political sway during election times, this is a state that should get more attention from the media. Well, all is not buckeyes (what are those things anyway?) and sprawling farmland in this state. As a matter of fact, it looks like hard financial times are setting in for residents of Ohio. Just recently, the 2016 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard – which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia in a wide range of financial categories – reported that Ohio ranks in at just 36 out of 51. This scorecard is put together by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, out of Washington D.C., and is geared toward helping “low and moderate income people to build wealth. The previous year, Ohio came in at number 35.
The Scorecard makes reference to metrics of traditional financial health, it bases its analytics on government provided data, and provides outcome rankings for each state. Out of the 61 total outcomes, Ohio ranked below the country’s average on quite a few of them. These outcomes are important to help ensure the financial stability of Ohioans, according to Lebaron Sims, the research manager at the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Some of the outcomes that Ohio ranked lower in were the income poverty & bankruptcy rates and the liquid asset poverty rate. These measure the percentage of households in the state that have less than three months of savings, which figures to be about $6,000 on average.
The Buckeye state also has a higher than normal percentage of lower-wage jobs than other states, and fewer micro-enterprises (small businesses with four employees or less.) Ohio’s business creation rate puts the state very close to the bottom of all national rankings.
The Corporation for Enterprise Development has been putting this scorecard together for 15 years now. This was the first year, however, that the corporation did analysis on the outcomes to determine if there were any racial disparities. According to this year’s scorecard, just as it seems to be across the entire country, that Latinos and African Americans are not faring as well as Caucasians. With Ohio falling into the bottom third in the country should be a concern for Ohioans and for all Americans, as the state is often used as a predictor of how the rest of the country will fare with regards to political decisions and trends.
According to Mr. Sims, “Ohio really is a microcosm of some of the trends both in society and in the economy that have led to these inequitable outcomes.”
According to the scorecard, here are just a few areas where Ohio ranked in at the bottom third of the country:
Income Poverty Rate – Over 15 percent of the households in this state live in poverty, compared to the 14.5 percent across the country.
Liquid Asset Poverty – This state’s liquid asset poverty rate comes in at around 44.7 percent, compared to the nationwide average of 43.5 percent.
Bankruptcy – For every 1,000 residents Ohio reports 3.3 bankruptcies. The US average is about 2.9 per every 1,000 households. The foreclosure crisis hit this state pretty hard over the past decade, and that may be why so many Ohioans have had to file for bankruptcy.
Ohio seems to be smack dab in the middle of some rough financial times. As Americans, we should all be concerned about how this state fares in the future, and we should hope that some improvements take place. They say “As Ohio goes, so goes the country.” With regards to financial stability, we should all hope that this is not a true statement.