In every part of the state, quality of life is closely tied to financial security and how Oregonians approach financial choices. A new statewide data report is giving policymakers and the public a clearer view of how Oregonians are faring across an array of financial data points, which can help to guide decisions about the future of economic education in the state.
The first-ever Oregon Financial Wellness Scorecard considers statistics from 11 sources, including the U.S. Census and Federal Reserve.
The compilation comes from State Treasurer Tobias Read and the Financial Empowerment Advisory Team (FEAT), a group focused on highlighting financial literacy and wellness efforts statewide. Chaired by Treasurer Read, FEAT is made up of financial-focused experts from nonprofits across the state, as well as representatives of Oregon agencies that engage in consumer protection and outreach.
“The quality of life for our families, our communities, and our state is shaped by financial health and knowledge,” said Treasurer Read. “We will all win when more Oregonians, of every age and in every community, are equipped and prepared to make informed and wise financial decisions.”
The scorecard includes more than 40 separate data categories to better quantify Oregonians’ financial situations, decision-making, stress, and acumen. When available, the statistics are broken down to show regional differences.
Overall, the Scorecard underscores a need for more financial education, at all levels, with the data highlighting both positive trends and areas in need of improvement.
“Financial capability by itself won’t eliminate poverty. Nor will it reverse systemic and historical barriers to wealth building that disproportionately impact underrepresented communities. Yet when people are more confident and informed in their financial decisions, it can, and does, create a positive difference,” said Treasurer Read.
Key findings include:
Oregonians are collectively earning more, have rising net worth, and that the gender income gap is improving;
However, despite healthier economic trends, Oregonians were less likely to answer financial knowledge questions correctly in 2021 than in 2018, and say they are less confident about making important financial decisions; and
Oregon’s financial well-being is uneven—those living in rural areas and people of color are likely to earn less, face higher levels of poverty, and experience more financial stress.
The Treasurer’s Financial Empowerment Initiative is working to augment, amplify and better coordinate financial capability, financial education, and financial inclusion opportunities statewide.
“The best information will allow us to better link existing programs and resources to further meet the financial literacy needs of the diverse population of all Oregonians,” said George Katsinis, a Salem financial counselor who specializes in the needs of military families, and a member of the Financial Empowerment Advisory Team.
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