North Dakotans Among The Best In The Nation At Saving


The Corporation for Enterprise Development tells us that 28% of North Dakotans aren’t saving adequately, and while that sounds like a big number, it’s worth noting that North Dakota is 3rd in the nation when it comes to saving.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release. The full scorecard is here.

Washington, D.C. — While North Dakota’s booming economy and supportive policies lend to a system of financial security for the majority of residents, more than one in four North Dakota residents are living on the edge of financial disaster with almost no savings to fall back on in the event of a job loss, health crisis or other income-depleting emergency, according to a report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).

The 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard defines these residents as “liquid asset poor,” which means they lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for just three months if they suffer a loss of stable income. Included in this group are a majority of North Dakota residents who live below the official income poverty line of $23,050 for a family of four, as well as many who would consider themselves middle class. Although a family of four would need just $5,762 in savings to meet basic needs for three months, growing numbers of middle class households in our state fall short of that amount.

Without savings, these families have limited hope of building a more prosperous future for themselves or their children, including saving for college, buying a home or setting aside money for retirement. …

North Dakota ranks 3rd in the country overall in the ability of residents to achieve financial security. The Scorecard evaluates states across 53 measures within the five different issue areas. North Dakota holds the nation’s top rating in Financial Assets & Income, and has the lowest number of consumers with subprime credit (borrowers who are 90 day or more overdue on debt payments) and average credit card debt. Similarly, North Dakota is 1st in the nation in several measures in Housing & Homeownership, including the affordability of homes, housing cost burden of homeowners and delinquent mortgages loans.

Unfortunately, according to this group, North Dakota is worse in the nation when it comes to racial inequality:

However, an area of concern for North Dakota is disparities in outcomes by race, with people of color falling far behind white North Dakotans. Disparities in unemployment and business ownership by race in North Dakota are the worst in the nation, and disparities in health insurance coverage by race are the second worst. North Dakotans of color are six times more likely to be unemployed and three times more likely to be uninsured than white North Dakotans.

I’d say this has a lot to do with North Dakota’s Indian reservations. The unemployment rates on the reservations hover in the 40 – 50% ranges, and the economies there are stagnant. And that has very little to do with state policy. Those are enclaves of federal social policy.