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Nearly half of Americans on edge of financial disaster

A new report finds a large percentage of U.S. citizens are one financial blow away from poverty


Natasha Lennard
January 31, 2013 1:47AM (UTC)

According to a new report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, 43.9 percent of U.S. households are living on the "edge of financial collapse." The nonprofit organization reported that in the event of "a job loss, health crisis or other income-depleting emergency," these Americans would lack resources to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for just three months.

The report found that even many Americans who would consider themselves middle class, with household incomes of $55,465-$90,000, qualify as “liquid asset poor,” with less than three months' savings for basic expenses. One-quarter (26 percent) of households were found by CFED to be  “net worth asset poor,” meaning that the few assets they do have are overwhelmed by their debts.

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Andrea Levere, president of CFED, called the findings “particularly disturbing given the ongoing budget talks in Congress that will likely result in further reductions in the social safety net and other programs that help low- and moderate-income people get on their feet and start planning and saving for a better future.”

As Think Progress noted,  an "even more dire picture of American finances has been painted by several other recent surveys." TP cited one survey that found last year that nearly 40 percent of American households live paycheck to paycheck.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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