Financial Capability Is Putting Immigrants on the Road to Citizenship and Financial Security

EDITOR’S NOTE: This content originally appeared in NCLR’s Blog The path to U.S. citizenship is extremely rewarding but also a long and difficult process. Becoming a citizen has many benefits including higher wages, access to government jobs, and retention of retirement benefits, yet immigrants must also face the technical nature of immigration policy, such as a 20-page application and a civics test that one in three native-born Americans regularly fail. Additionally, there are financial barriers that all too often preclude low-to moderate-income immigrants from reaching their goal of citizenship. The financial challenges are not limited to the application cost alone, which ballooned 610 perent from 1998–2008. They include costs for English language instruction, legal assistance, and civics classes. These barriers... Read more

How We Can Close the Racial Wealth Divide

EDITOR’S NOTE: This content originally appeared in TalkPoverty The racial wealth divide is bad and getting worse, and nowhere is this more evident than in the South. This national trend is reflected in the wealth and earnings of Southern states like Georgia, where the median household of color has only $7,113 in net worth (compared to the $85,499 in net worth owned by white households). In Virginia, the median white household has a net worth nearly 12 times that of the median African-American household. One of the more striking findings from the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s (CFED) 2016 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is just how wide the economic disparity is between whites and African-Americans in the South. The data in... Read more

Expanding Economic Opportunity for Communities of Color Through Policy: Asset Building Policy Network 2016 Policy Priorities

On the surface, there are some encouraging signs that the nation’s economy is improving: job creation is trending upward, unemployment is steadily falling and wages are slowly increasing. However, a deeper look into the numbers reveals that communities of color are not benefiting equally from these broad economic trends. Recent research from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) shows that households of color continue to live in a persistent state of financial insecurity despite the positive trends we’ve seen over the past several years. Today, households of color are 2.1 times more likely to live below the federal poverty level and 1.7 times more likely to lack the liquid savings necessary to whether a long-term financial emergency. Essentially, many of these households are... Read more

Showing our thanks for grandparent care givers

As most of us prepare to gather with family, sharing meals and good times, we as a nation should look at how we value families and support the efforts made within families to provide for future generations.  With limited financial assets, low-income communities have long relied on social and family resources to provide stability for children.  When times get tough, extended family – typically grandparents – often step in to play an outsized role in caring for their grandchildren. Approximately 2.7 million grandparents in the United States are heads of households with grandchildren and more than one in five of them live below the poverty line. This phenomenon is more common among households of color. According to a report published by... Read more

Financial Access and Services Are Essential for Immigrant Integration

EDITOR’S NOTE: This content originally appeared on NCLR’s Blog. Latinos have represented the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population in recent decades. Significant growth is expected to continue—the Census Bureau estimates the Hispanic population will increase by 86 percent between 2015 and 2050, amounting to 119 million or one in four Americans, by 2060. Given this tremendous population growth, the health of the U.S. economy is deeply tied to the status of Latino financial health. Access to safe, affordable, and cross-cultural financial products and services is essential for Latino individuals, families, and entrepreneurs to fully participate in the banking system. Yet today, too few Latinos understand the banking system and have financial institutions they turn to for financial advice. Many... Read more