Forsyth County, North Carolina

The ABC Data Exchange


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


Let’s get started.


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.

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

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Utilities Icon


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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:

Meet Cheryl and Jefferson

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.



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



Example: a person has low or no debt.


Healthcare and Insurance

Example: a person has affordable, sufficient health insurance.



Example: a person has affordable housing.



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


Business and Jobs

Example: a person owns a high-value business.

View in table format.



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



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.


Healthcare and Insurance

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



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



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


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 Forsyth County, North Carolina households experienced Asset Poverty.

about 1 in 4 households experienced Asset Poverty in 2019

About 1 in 4, or 23%, experienced Asset Poverty in 2021.

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 [email protected].

infographic showing: Black or African American 18,186 households affected; White 15,627 households affected; Hispanic 4,749 households affected

However, when we look at the percentage of households that experienced Asset Poverty 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.

  • Black or African American households, 46% 46% 46%
  • Hispanic/Latino households, 37% 37% 37%
  • White, non-Hispanic households, 17% 17% 17%

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 various 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.



The percentage of African American residents living in an owned home jumped from 37% to 58% from 2019 to 2022.

Median Income

Median income decreased for Black or African American residents from 2009 to 2022. The median income was approximately $35,000 in 2009 compared to $26,000 in 2022.

Leadership Voices


Rates of Uninsurance

Hispanic/Latino residents were more likely to be uninsured than White and Black residents. In 2022, 28% of Hispanic/Latino residents were uninsured compared to 7% of Black residents and 7% of  White residents.

Educational Attainment

In 2022, 17% of Hispanic/Latino adults had an Associate’s Degree or higher compared to 50% of White adults and 28% of Black adults.

Leadership Voices

Leadership Voice Video Coming Soon.


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 2022.

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?


[1] Forsyth Futures (n.d.). Community Data, Economy and Financial Stability. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from

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.