Report: Conn. among worst for home ownership, credit card debt

A new report from an economic advocacy group ranks Connecticut among the worst states for affordable home ownership and credit card debt, and it raises some interesting economic disparity issues about the state. Listen to the story here:

The national study from the DC-based Center for Enterprise Development found that in Connecticut, 37% of households don’t have enough money to cover basic expenses for three months if they lose their income.

“What I think is surprising is how far up the income scale liquid asset poverty reaches,” says Jennifer Brooks, director of state and local policy at CFED. She says 15% of Connecticut households that earn between $65K and $107K a year don’t have three months worth of savings.

Where Connecticut really stands out in the report is home ownership. The state ranks 42nd on the study’s measure of home affordability, which compares household income to median housing value. And the report says 41% of households in CT are paying more than a third of income for mortgage & other housing costs. And more than half of renters are using up that much of their income on housing. Brooks says there’s a huge disparity in home ownership based on income. She acknowledges it’s not surprising that high income families are more likely to own homes than low income families.

“I think that fact that Connecticut ranks 46th on this disparity measure is important, so the gap in CT is much bigger than it is in many other states,” she says.

The report shows there are also home ownership disparities based on race and family structure. It also says the average credit card debt in Connecticut is $15,000, second only to Washington DC.

CFED recommends a dozen policy recommendations in its report, including suggestions on how to reduce credit card debt and improve homeownership rates.

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