With respect to economic self-sufficiency and independence fostered by income development, asset-building and home ownership, the indicators shed light on significant challenges continuing to face the community.
The economic independence indicators are the percent of working households that are low income, bank account ownership in low income households, the homeownership rate in low income households and housing costs in low income households. These indicators characterizing financial self-sufficiency and economic independence are important in monitoring progress in reducing the proportion of persons living in poverty in our area and increasing the long-term economic vitality of the community.
In Chatham County, the proportion of working households that were low income increased from 27% to 32.7% from 2009 to 2011. Nearly three-quarters of low income households had a checking and/or saving account, but there was slight decline from 2010 to 2012. The proportion of low income working households that were able to continuously maintain a combined balance of $300 in an account increased modestly to just over half of these households.
The remaining two economic independence indicators are related to homeownership and housing costs in low income households. The low income homeownership rate in Chatham County increased significantly from 2010 to 2011, and essentially equals the rate for similar households in Georgia. The financial stress placed on low income household finances from housing costs diminished slightly in Chatham County, and remains slightly above the financial stress level for similar households in Georgia.
The following statistics are for Chatham County, unless otherwise noted for state level data.
• The proportion of working households that were low income increased from 27% in 2009 to 32.7% in 2011.
• The incidence of checking or saving account ownership in low income working households was 72.7% in 2012, down slightly from 73.5% in 2010.
• In 2012, the incidence of checking or saving account ownership in fully employed low income households was 75.7%, as compared to 69.6% of low income working households that were not fully employed. The latter percentage is up from 63.7% in 2010.
• Among low income working households, the proportion that were able to continuously maintain a combined balance of $300 in checking or savings accounts was 50.4% in 2012, an increase from 48.1% in 2010.
• The homeownership rate among low income households increased substantially to 26.6% in 2011 from 22.8% in 2010.
• Low income homeownership rates in Chatham County increased to essentially eliminate the ownership gap as compared to state level data.
• In 2011, the housing cost burden on low income households was equal to or greater than 30% of household income for 75.6% of those households, a slight decline from 2010. The comparable rate for Georgia was 75.0%.