The Washington-based Corporation for Enterprise Development says “nearly half of South Carolina residents are living on the edge of financial disaster,” in a study that ranks the state near-worst in the nation for household financial security.

The Palmetto State’s relatively high unemployment rate, below-average wages, and poor levels of educational attainment were key factors in ranking the state 48th in the U.S. in the organization’s study. An estimated 47 percent of S.C. residents have little to no money saved for emergencies.

On the plus side, South Carolina residents who did graduate from college had a lower rate of student debt and a lower loan default rate than in other states, the study found.

South Carolina also ranked well, compared to other states, for having relatively affordable homes and high rates of homeownership.

The Corporation for Enterprise Development said South Carolina could improve the financial well-being of residents by increasing education funding for high-poverty school districts and creating a stronger system of teacher evaluation, by adopting state tax credits for lower-income working families, and by regulating payday and car-title loans and other high-interest products.

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