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The State of Low- and Moderate-Income Families in Texas: A Conversation with CPPP's Frances Deviney

Molly Hubbert Doyle
June 2014

Frances Deviney of the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) provided insights into the state of low- and moderate-income (LMI) families in Texas, as reflected in the CFED 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard for Texas. Deviney is the Texas KIDS COUNT director and senior research associate at CPPP, an independent research organization that works to ensure health care, nutrition, jobs, education and protection for LMI communities across the state through policy analysis, public education, advocacy, coalition-building and technical assistance. In her role, she tracks the status of child well-being by collecting and analyzing state and county-level data and helps coordinate CPPP's family economic security work.

The Scorecard, released by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) earlier this year, provides a snapshot of the condition of wealth, poverty and opportunity in the state, through data on household financial security and policy solutions.

CFED Scorecard: Outcome Highlights

CFED's 2014 Scorecard includes 66 outcome measures in the areas of Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education. Below are Texas' overall grades:

  • Financial Assets & Income - D
  • Businesses & Jobs - C
  • Housing & Homeownership - B
  • Health Care - F
  • Education - C

The table below lists key outcome measures for the state in comparison with U.S. averages and individual state rates, including Washington, D.C.

Income poverty 15 16 39
Asset poverty 25 24 *
Liquid asset poverty 50 44 30
Unbanked households 8 13 50
Underbanked households 20 27 47
Subprime credit scores 56 65 48
Low-wage jobs 21 28 42
High-cost mortgage loans 5 6 46
Housing cost burden for homeowners 34 29 17
Uninsured 17 25 50
Educational attainment – high school diploma 86 81 51
Educational attainment – four-year degree 29 27 32

* States are not ranked on this measure because estimates are too imprecise to say with confidence how the state compares with other states.

Texas' Scorecard indicates that the state needs improvement in many areas, ranking in the bottom 10 on 19 of 54 outcome measures. At the same time, some improvements have occurred over time. Since 2013, the state moved from a 39th ranking overall to 37th, and the Education score changed from "D" to "C." Additionally, Texas places high in Housing & Homeownership with a rank of 15 and a score of "B." When compared with U.S. averages, Texas performed better on many outcome measures, including unemployment, foreclosures and microenterprise ownership. Several outcome measures for Texas even ranked in the top 10, including:

CFED Scorecard: Policy Highlights

Through evaluation of state policies to increase economic opportunity and upward mobility, the Scorecard indicates that Texas ranks 41st. Based on number of prioritized policies adopted, Texas ranked low in Financial Assets & Income (48th) and Education (34th).

The state ranked higher, however, in Businesses & Jobs (21st), Housing & Homeownership (11th) and Health Care (17th). According to the Scorecard, Texas succeeded in adopting prioritized policies that made improvements in many areas including automatic direct deposit, asset protection, TANF/WIA funding, down payment assistance, direct lending, homeownership counseling, housing trust funds, deficiency judgments, COBRA coverage, college matching programs, and tuition and financial aid.

Q & A

We asked Deviney about her perspective on the Scorecard based on her work with CPPP.

Despite Texas' overall Outcome Rank of 37 and overall Policy Rank of 41, the state has also made some improvements. What are Texas' strengths and assets, which can influence CFED rankings?

What policy and practice efforts have taken place across the state recently and how is that reflected in Texas' Scorecard?

In what ways have you seen the implementation of the Affordable Care Act affect low- and moderate-income Texans?

What policy changes are coming in the next legislative session?

To learn more about Frances Deviney's work, visit the CPPP website.

Frances Deviney
Texas KIDS COUNT director and senior research associate at CPPP

About the Author

Molly Hubbert Doyle is a community development specialist in the Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.