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Report: 25 Percent of Idaho Families Financially Insecure

February 8, 2012

BOISE, Idaho – About 25 percent of Idaho households are not prepared to weather the storm financially if unexpected big bills pop up. The nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development has issued a national survey that ranks states on how well their residents do to achieve financial security.

It shows that Idahoans make less money than the average American worker, and carry an average credit card debt topping $10,000. Don Baylor, senior policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, says that puts Idahoans in a precarious situation.

"They're essentially a job loss away from having zero assets."

The report says 53 percent of Idahoans have sub-prime credit.

Idaho received a failing grade in the report on the topic of education because of its low rate of enrollment in early childhood education programs and low college graduation rate. Baylor says quality education in the early and later years equals expanded earnings and savings.

"Finishing high school and completing college. That's really where the state needs to focus a lot of its attention, and link household finances with increased educational attainment and access."

The report also recommends state policies that could make it easier for people to save, build assets and pull themselves out of poverty. For Idaho, it suggests a state tax credit for working families and state support for savings-match programs for low-income families. The CFED "Assets & Opportunities Scorecard" is at scorecard.cfed.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID