Forsyth County, North Carolina

The ABC Data Exchange

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Asset Poverty is a condition that has a major impact on individuals, families, and our community overall.

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Let’s get started.

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What’s Asset Poverty?

If you are new to the conversation or need a refresher, you are in the right place — just keep scrolling!

I’ve got the basics.

If you are up to speed, click here to jump to key findings on community impact.

Asset Poverty is…

Asset poverty is a condition that is more persistent and prevalent than general poverty, defined by the inability to access the resources needed to provide for basic needs for three months.

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Let’s begin by talking about Financial Stability.

Financial stability is the foundation of a person’s ability to be self sufficient, thrive, achieve goals, and ensure that their family’s basic needs are met.

Without financial stability, a family’s basic needs will likely not be met. When people are forced to go without their basic needs, it is difficult or impossible to thrive or make a positive contribution — in school, at work, or in community.

The graphic on the right depicts Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A person’s most basic needs — like food, water, shelter, and clothing — are all grouped into the foundation of the hierarchy.

Financial Stability Illustration
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Basic Needs

Housing Icon

Housing

Utilities Icon

Utilities

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Food

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Transport

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Childcare

Experiencing Asset Poverty means living paycheck to paycheck.

Asset Poverty asks the key question:
Does this family have three months’ worth of living expenses on hand that they could use to weather a disruption of their income?

Without three months worth of money to cover basic needs, a family is at risk of losing financial stability in the event of a job loss, illness, injury, or some other type of financial disruption. Such an event might cause a family to go without food or childcare, or potentially lose their transportation or housing, as examples.

Importantly, this does not include spending on discretionary expenses like clothing, entertainment, or other non-essentials; it solely includes a person’s ability to pay for just their basic needs for three months.

Let’s look at some examples of how Asset Poverty affects people living in Forsyth County:

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Meet Jefferson and Cheryl

Literature Review Highlight

 

“[…] assets have a positive effect on expectations and confidence about the future; influence people to make specific plans with regard to work and family; induce more prudent and protective personal behaviors; and lead to more social connectedness with relatives, neighbors, and organizations.” [1]

Literature Review References

[1] Yadama, G. N., & Sherraden, M. (1996). Effects of assets on attitudes and behaviors: Advance test of a social policy proposal. Social Work Research, 20(1), 3-11.

Did you know?

Unless you have some assets set aside, you’re not financially stable, regardless of your income.

Financial stability is all about whether or not you have enough money set aside to weather a disruption of your income. So whether you make $12,000 a year or $100,000, if you don’t have enough set aside to pay for three months’ worth of your family’s expenses, you are at risk. 

A family’s financial stability is impacted by many different factors.

Asset-Building Factors...

have a positive or reinforcing effect on a person’s financial stability and contribute to building Asset Wealth in a positive way.

Asset-Weakening Factors...

have a negative effect on a person’s financial stability, making it more likely that they will fall into asset poverty or less likely to escape from asset poverty.

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Income

Example: a person has sufficient income to pay for their expenses and set some aside each month in savings.

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Debt

Example: a person has low or no debt.

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Healthcare and Insurance

Example: a person has affordable, sufficient health insurance.

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Housing

Example: a person has affordable housing.

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Education

Example: a person has a two- or four-year degree.

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Business and Jobs

Example: a person owns a high-value business.

View in table format.

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Income

Example: a person does not earn enough to pay for their expenses and set some aside each month in savings.

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Debt

Example: a person has a high amount of debt, high interest rates, or more debt than they can reasonably pay off based on their income.

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Healthcare and Insurance

Example: a person is uninsured or does not have access to affordable health insurance options.

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Housing

Example: a person does not have access to affordable housing or they are experiencing housing cost burden.

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Education

Example: a person does not have a two- or four-year degree or did not complete high school.

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Business and Jobs

Example: a person does not own a high-value business.

The Impact of Asset Poverty on Forsyth County, North Carolina

About 1 in 4 North Caolina households experienced Asset Poverty.

About 3 in 10, or 28%, are experiencing asset poverty.

About 1 in 4, or 28%, experienced Asset Poverty in 2019.

Disparities in Asset Poverty rates by race/ethnicity demonstrate how the impact is disproportionate.

When we look just at the numbers of households affected by Asset Poverty, the disproportionate impact is not clear.

What about other races and ethnicities?

The “other” category includes: American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, or some other race. “Other” is omitted here because it is too small of a percentage of the population which makes any estimates on these groups statistically unreliable.

If you have questions, please contact info@forsythfutures.org.

When we look just at the numbers of people affected by Asset Poverty, the disproportionate impact is not clear.

When we look at the percentage of households that experienced Asset Poverty (shown below) it is clear that non-White households were impacted at a rate that’s more than double the rate at which White households were impacted.

46% of Black or African American households experienced Asset Poverty.

47% of Hispanic/Latino households experienced Asset Poverty.

20% of White households experienced Asset Poverty.

Identifying Issues of Equity: As a community, it is critical that we take note of instances when the outcomes experienced by one group are disproportionate to the outcomes experienced by another group. 

Major disparities by race/ethnicity are present across all measures.

diverse people

The table below provides a simple, visual representation of the relative sizes of racial/ethnic disparities across all ABC Data Exchange measures.

Lightbulb Illustration

Shining a Light: 
Noteworthy Disparities by Race/Ethnicity

The following sections outline instances in which a subgroup has specific, distinct outcomes from the other subgroups.

AFRICAN AMERICAN RESIDENTS

Homeownership

Homeownership rates for African American residents dropped by 9% from 2017-19.

Median Income

Median income decreased over time for Black or African American residents from 2009 to 2019. The median income was approximately $35,000 in 2009 compared to $28,000 in 2019.

Leadership Voices

HISPANIC/LATINO RESIDENTS

Rates of Uninsurance

Hispanic/Latino residents in 2019 were more than 5 times and about 2 times as likely to be uninsured as White and African American residents, respectively.

Educational Attainment

In 2019, Hispanic/Latino residents were about 2.5 times less likely than White residents to have an Associate’s Degree or higher.

Leadership Voices

Leadership Voice Video Coming Soon.

WHITE RESIDENTS

Considering all of the measures reported on this site, White residents fared significantly better than Black or African American and Hispanic/Latino residents, consistently, in 2019.

This indicates that systemic factors across our community, state, and nation are working in favor of White residents.

Children and youth experience high rates of poverty.

In 2018, 1 in 3 children under age 5 in Forsyth County lived in poverty. [1]

In 2018, 1 in 4 children ages 5-17 in Forsyth County lived in poverty. [1]

How are our outcomes changing over time?

Conditions around Asset Poverty are not improving on more than half of the measures for which we have trend (historical) data.

This begs the question: how effective have we been at improving the financial wellbeing of those in our community at the local level?

MeasureCurrent Data Compared to 2009
Median Incomesimilar
Income Insufficiencysimilar
Povertysimilar
Unemploymentbetter
Homeownershipworse (The percentage of people living in owned homes declined from 2009 to 2019.)
Housing Cost Burden: Homeownerssimilar
Housing Cost Burden: Renterssimilar
Employer-Provided Health Insurancesimilar
No Health Insurancesimilar
Educational Attainmentbetter

References

[1] Forsyth Futures (n.d.). Community Data, Economy and Financial Stability. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from https://www.forsythfutures.org/economy-and-financial-stability/

Advocating for Positive Change

Systemic factors like local, state, and national policies make certain groups of people more likely or less like to be able to build assets.

Advocacy is public support for a particular cause or policy. Our Coalition’s Asset Poverty advocacy agenda is a collection of efforts and strategies that we pursue together to address the root causes of local Asset Poverty. This work involves building public will to influence policy and funding decisions at the local, state, or even national level.