Report

Assets help families meet short-term needs and attain long-term goals, assisting them in weathering financial crises — job loss or unexpected bills — and realizing goals such as owning a home, financing retirement or investing in higher education or a small business. The recent financial crisis has shown both the importance of asset building and that it is by no means a risk-free proposition.

This report sheds more light on how families have fared during the Great Recession, looking more closely at those living in low-income neighborhoods who may see disproportionate effects from the crisis due to targeted subprime lending, less access to traditional credit sources and higher unemployment rates. It uses the variation in household and neighborhood characteristics within and across several low-income neighborhoods that were part of the Foundation’s Making Connections initiative to identify the families most affected by the crisis, and examines the relationship between household and place characteristics and changes in wealth.

January 1, 2012

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    Background information regarding equity, assets and debt for low-income and minority families in the study.

  2. 2

    The role of government in asset building.

  3. 3

    What has happened to the asset and debts of families in low-income neighborhoods since the financial crisis began?

  4. 4

    How do asset and debt levels differ across families living in low-income neighborhoods?

  1. 5

    Which household and place-based characteristics matter?

  2. 6

    How do changes in assets and debts differ across families living in low-income neighborhoods?

  3. 7

    Suggestions for policies to target those most affected.

Key Takeaway

Those living in low-income neighborhoods may see disproportionate effects from the crisis due to targeted subprime lending.

This report contributes to the broad understanding of the financial crisis by examining not just the overall local view of changes in wealth, but by using the variation in household and neighborhood characteristics within and across these low-income neighborhoods to identify the families most affected by the crisis. Those living in low-income neighborhoods may see disproportionate effects from the crisis due to targeted subprime lending, less access to traditional credit sources and higher unemployment rates.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations