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Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

It’s been a slow recovery. With the January release of CFED’s annual 2014 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, we have further proof of this fact. The report, Treading Water in the Deep End, shows many American families are financially insecure, and this includes a growing number of Oklahomans.

2013_scorecardIn Oklahoma, it is estimated 49% of households live in a persistent state of financial insecurity, with no little or no savings to cover emergencies. This is up from last year’s estimate of 43.8% of Oklahomans who were considered “liquid asset poor.” Poor showings in areas related to income, assets, healthcare and education contributed to Oklahoma’s overall rank of 31, compared to other states.

The Assets and Opportunity Scorecard examines the financial security of Americans by assessing states based on 69 different outcome measures. The measures are grouped into five broader categories: 1) Financial Assets and Income, 2) Business and Jobs; (more…)

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An estimated 681,834 Oklahomans are currently uninsured, according to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The Tulsa World’s recent coverage of the issue states that in many Tulsa County neighborhoods, as few as 1 in 3 residents have health insurance coverage.

U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office

Statewide, approximately 18.6% of individuals in Oklahoma are uninsured. To put this in perspective, the 2008-2012 ACS Health Insurance Coverage estimates put Oklahoma in seventh place for the highest rate of uninsured individuals in the country. Texas has the highest, at 23% uninsured. Massachusetts has the lowest rate, with only 4% of their population uninsured.

Education and income are among the factors that predict insurance coverage. Around 62% of our state’s uninsured adults have attained the equivalent of a high school diploma or less. Educational attainment is a contributing factor to household income, and lower incomes seem to be a trend among the uninsured. Nearly 65% of Oklahoma’s uninsured, an estimated 440,072, live in households with an annual income of (more…)

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This post was written by Paul Shinn, CAP’s Public Policy Analyst.

CAP Tulsa recently published the second issue in our Better Benefits for Oklahoma Families series, covering Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF is the only program that provides cash assistance to very low-income families with children. Too many Oklahoma children go without this essential support and are thus at risk for child maltreatment, poor health, and not succeeding in school.

Since federal welfare reform in 1996, Oklahoma has dramatically reduced its help to these most needy of families and children, even though there has been no drop in child poverty. As the chart below shows, Oklahoma only provides TANF cash assistance to 4,100 poor families, down from more than 30,000 in 1996. While TANF participation has fallen across the nation, Oklahoma’s drop has been much more severe.

TANF families served

While the welfare reforms were designed to move families from welfare to self-sufficiency, that’s simply not possible the way Oklahoma operates TANF. Several factors play a role.

  • Income guidelines keep most families who need help from getting it.  The most a family of three can make and qualify for TANF in Oklahoma is $824 per month, only half the poverty level.
  • TANF benefits are too low to do anything but fight off an emergency. The most a family of three can receive is $292 a month, well below the national average of $429. Many families don’t even qualify for this maximum benefit, which is only equivalent to 20 percent of the poverty level. Since Oklahoma has not raised benefits, the current payment to families is 32 percent less than in 1996, adjusting for inflation.
  • Most families do not receive assistance long enough to support themselves. More than half of Oklahoma families get TANF help for less than a full year. One reason is Oklahoma’s strict sanctions policy that denies help to the whole family, even young children, for minor violations of program rules.

Oklahoma can continue its strict approach to TANF cash assistance, (more…)

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CFED recently released their 2013 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, subtitled Living on the Edge: Financial Security and Policies to Rebuild American Prosperity. It details how millions of Americans are still just getting by in the wake of the recession, and for Oklahoma the data highlights two or three real problem areas. However, before we take the plunge into a sea of disconcerting data, there are two bright spots. Oklahoma earned the second highest rank 2013_scorecardamong the states in Early Childhood Education participation, an especially relevant figure since CAP Tulsa is an early childhood program provider. The state can also boast of a low unemployment rate, the fifth best in the country. However, the high marks do not carry over to other areas of the Scorecard.

The Assets and Opportunity Scorecard examines the financial security of Americans by assessing states based on 69 different outcome measures. The measures are grouped into five broader categories: 1) Financial Assets and Income, 2) Business and Jobs; 3) Housing and Homeownership; 4) Health Care; and 5) Education. Oklahoma’s general report card, shown below, reflects a mixture of good news and bad news:

  • D – Financial Assets & Income
  • B – Business & Jobs
  • B – Housing & Homeownership
  • D – Health Care
  • C – Education

For more detail on all of Oklahoma’s results, you can click here. For now, to better understand what these grades mean, we will take a quick look at just two of Oklahoma’s problem areas: 1) Financial Assets and Income; and 2) Health Care. (more…)

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As an anti-poverty agency, CAP’s ultimate vision is that the children we serve today move up the economic ladder so that when they are adults their children are not born into poverty.  But according to a new study by the Pew Economic Mobility Project, the headwinds facing Oklahomans are particularly strong.

An interactive map shows clearly Oklahoma, along with Louisiana and South Carolina, have worse than average mobility rates on three measures — absolute mobility (residents’ average earnings growth over time), relative mobility (residents’ rank on the earnings ladder relative to their peers), and updward / downward movement along that ladder.  Another six states perform worse than the national average on two of the three measures.  Interestingly, Texas and Florida, states without income taxes, are two of those six states.

The study looked at average earnings of adults ages 35-39 between 1978 and 1997, and compared them to average earnings of the same sample ten years later.  14% of the Oklahomans experienced absolute mobility, compared to 17% as a national average, and a maximium of 23% in Connecticuit.  Relative upward mobility was higher across the board than absolute mobility – 30% in Oklahoma compared to 34% national average and a high of 49%, again in Connecticuit.  But, 33% of the Oklahomans experienced downward economic mobility, compared to 28% nationally.  And this was before the economic recession of 2008.

The study did not analyze why some states offer better or worse opportunities for residents to move up the earnings ladder.  Pew’s larger study on mobility, however, demonstrates that a host of factors including postsecondary educational attainment, savings and assets, and neighborhood povery during childhood — all factors where Oklahoma falls short — matter.  In other words, there is no silver bullet.  States must consider the context in which its citizens build human capital and figure out how to support that growth.

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Earlier this year, the Foundation for Child Development and Annie E. Casey Foundation released a series of reports on the child well-being index (CWI) for states. Study authors note that national information for child well-being does not help us understand how children are doing, since there is so much state variation and since states have responsibility for so many of the programs that support children and their families.

As is often the case with ranking documents, the news is not good for Oklahoma. In this very broad measure of how children fare (including 25 separate measures), Oklahoma children rank 43rd, with an index value of -0.56. New Jersey children are best off, with an index of 0.85, and New Mexico’s are worst off, with an index of -0.96. Perhaps most disturbing of all, we were in the bottom 10 states on five of the seven “domains” that were measured. Oklahoma’s domain rankings were: (more…)

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