More than one in four American households do not to have enough to survive three months if they lost their regular income.
According to the latest data released by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), fewer than 70% of households have an actual savings accounts. In Arkansas, just 45.8% of households were keeping savings in a bank in 2011. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the states where the largest percentage of households do not have a savings account.
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In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., CFED Senior Program Manager Kasey Wiedrich said that low-income families are much less likely to have a savings account, and the primary reason is that they believe they cannot afford it. “For a lot of people, the main reason they don’t have a bank account is that they don’t think they have enough money. They don’t feel like it’s any use to them.”
Indeed, a review of the data shows that people in low-income areas save much less. These states have a very high proportion of low-income jobs. Of the 10 states with the fewest families saving money, all have a median income lower than the national figure of $50,502. The four worst states for savings accounts also are the four lowest-income states.
Poverty is also extremely high in these states. Seven of the 10 states with the highest poverty rates in the country are on this list of states with the smallest percentage of families keeping money in a savings account.
According to Wiedrich, part of the reason many families do not have a bank account is that they view the system as less than transparent about such items as fees and overdraft charges. In order to be more accessible to low-income families, Wiedrich explained, there needs to be a change in the transparency level of banks and lenders.
To determine the states with the lowest percentage of households that save, 24/7 Wall St. examined data published by the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s Assets and Opportunities Scorecard. Information on the percentage of households with a savings account and on the percentage of households with no bank accounts was originally compiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Information on asset poverty rates, defined as the percentage of households that did not own enough assets to live at the poverty level for three months if they lost their regular income, comes from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Information on the percentage of consumers with subprime credit ratings come from TransUnion. Average Credit Score for January 2013 is also calculated by TransUnion, but was provided by CreditKarma. Further information on income and poverty were provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The 10 States Where People Save the Least Money
10. Texas > Pct. with savings account: 62.8% > Pct. with no bank account: 12.8% (2nd highest) > Median household income: $49,392 (25th highest) > Average credit score: 637 (10th lowest)
Compared to most of the nation, Texans tend to save much less. Just 62.8% of households in the state have a savings account, the 10th lowest percentage among all states. In fact, 12.8% of Texas households lacked any bank account at all, more than any state except for Mississippi. And among those consumers who did have bank accounts, many had poor credit. In the third quarter of 2012, more than 65% of borrowers were considered by TransUnion to have subprime credit. In order to improve financial education in Texas, the state will begin teaching financial literacy to elementary school students in 2014.
9. Alabama > Pct. with savings account: 62.6% > Pct. with no bank account: 10.2% (10th highest) > Median household income: $41,415 (5th lowest) > Average credit score: 625 (tied for 3rd lowest)
For many households in Alabama, finding the resources necessary to save money and maintain financial stability has been difficult. In 2011, the state had one of the nation’s lowest median household incomes, at just $41,415, as well as one of its highest poverty rates, at 19.0%. Additionally, residents were less likely than Americans elsewhere to hold a college degree or a high school diploma. As of 2011, just 82.7% of residents 25 and older had a high school diploma, and just 22.3% of such residents had a college degree, versus 85.9% and 28.5%, respectively, for the United States overall. In recent years many residents have been unable to pay their bills, and in 2011 Alabama had one of the nation’s highest bankruptcy rates at 6.2 cases per 1,000 people.
8. Georgia > Pct. with savings account: 60.9% > Pct. with no bank account: 11.5% (tied for 5th highest) > Median household income: $46,007 (18th lowest) > Average credit score: 643 (20th lowest)
During the recession, the values of many Georgians’ homes plummeted. Through the second quarter of 2012, home values had declined by nearly 33% over five years, the fifth highest drop in the U.S. during that time. The effects of the housing market crash left many residents without sound financial stability. As of 2010, 29.3% of households did not have the minimum assets that would allow them to live at the poverty rate for three months if they lost their regular income, among the worst percentages in the nation. Many residents also continue to suffer from damaged credit. As of the third quarter of 2012, Georgia was one of five states where more than 5% of consumers were more than 90 days past due on a debt payment.
7. Oklahoma > Pct. with savings account: 60.0% > Pct. with no bank account: 10.9% (tied for 8th highest) > Median household income: $43,225 (10th lowest) > Average credit score: 633 (8th lowest)
While unemployment soared across the U.S., Oklahoma’s unemployment rate remained comparatively low. In December 2012, the state’s unemployment rate of 5.1% was the seventh lowest among all 50 states. But despite avoiding the worst of the Great Recession, many of the state’s households had no savings and the credit records of consumers in Oklahoma remained unhealthy. As of the third quarter of 2012, the state had one of the highest proportions of consumers with subprime credit.
6. Tennessee > Pct. with savings account: 59.3% > Pct. with no bank account: 10.9% (tied for 8th highest) > Median household income: $41,693 (6th lowest) > Average credit score: 636 (9th lowest)
In 2011, Tennessee had one of the nation’s highest bankruptcy rates, at 7.2 filings per 1,000 residents. Even households that were not bankrupt frequently struggled. The median household income in the state was nearly $9,000 lower than the national median in 2011. However, Tennessee did perform well in certain measures of financial responsibility. As of 2010, just 23% of households did not have the minimum assets that would allow them to live at the poverty level for three months if they lost their regular income, well below the 26% nationally. Although borrowers in Tennessee were no more likely to be more than 90 days past due on their debt than residents of the nation as a whole as of January 2013, the average credit score from TransUnion within the state was among the lowest in the nation.
To read the full list of the 10 states where people save the least, please visit 24/7 Wall St.