Equity Data Series: Asset Poverty

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A job loss, health crisis or other unanticipated expense can threaten the financial stability of a household. The asset poverty rate measures the percentage of households without sufficient net worth to provide for basic needs and live above the poverty level for three months in the absence of income. In many ways, asset poverty is more instructive and important than the traditional poverty rate.

We used asset poverty data to identify income inequities in our region. Here’s what we found:

Of white households 16.4% are asset poor.

Of households of color 36.7% are asset poor.

Of Asian households 15.3% are asset poor.
Of Black households 38.3% are asset poor.
Of Latinx households 42.1% are asset poor.

A job loss, health crisis or other unanticipated expense can threaten the financial stability of a household. The asset poverty rate measures the percentage of households without sufficient net worth to provide for basic needs and live above the poverty level for three months in the absence of income. In many ways, asset poverty is more instructive and important than the traditional poverty rate. This is because it factors in households who are just one job loss or health issue away from serious financial crisis. 

How United Way Helps 

As a part of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg’s 2020-22 funding cycle, 15 programs at 14 partner agencies supporting income equity are receiving a total of $565,000 in community investments.

Financial abuse is a common tactic used to gain power and control in an abusive relationship. Forms of financial abuse may include tactics to conceal information, limit the victim’s access to assets or reduce accessibility to the family finances. Financial abuse – along with emotional, physical and sexual abuse – includes behaviors to intentionally manipulate, intimidate, and threaten the victim in order to entrap that person in the relationship.

For those who manage to escape the abuse and survive initially, they often face overwhelming odds obtaining long-term security. Ruined credit scores, sporadic employment histories and legal issues caused by the abuse make it extremely difficult to gain independence, safety and long-term security. Hanover Safe Place works with victims of domestic violence who are participating in the Rapid Rehousing program in Central Virginia, assisting survivors to improve their financial knowledge, increase their confidence about managing their financial affairs and enhance financial behaviors that will improve their financial safety and long-term housing security and stabilization.

From January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021, Hanover Safe Place served 157 community members. 33 percent of individuals served were Black, 39 percent were white, and 22.9 percent identified as two or more races.


How Can You Help?  

Donate to United Wayof Greater Richmond & Petersburg today. Your donation helps us make equitable income a reality for our region. 

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