Individual Development Account Evaluation

The Oregon Individual Development Account (IDA) Initiative was built on the premise that a strong middle class where everyone has access to financial and educational opportunity is the foundation of healthy communities and the state’s economic strength.  IDAs help individuals and families with low incomes and limited net worth acquire and retain assets through matched savings accounts combined with financial education and counseling.  In Oregon, IDA participants save to purchase or renovate a home, further their education, start or expand a micro-enterprise, or buy specialized equipment or technology in support of an employment goal. 

Since late in 2007, Portland State University (PSU) has worked closely with Neighborhood Partnerships, the managing entity for the IDA Initiative, to compile and report data on program performance and outcomes.  Highlights from the most recent report include these overall findings:

 

  • Nearly 4,000 Oregon residents with limited incomes and net worth opened individual development accounts between January 2008 and the end of 2011, making Oregon’s IDA Initiative one of the largest in the country.
  • These IDA account holders saved nearly $5 million to purchase a home, start or expand a micro-enterprise, or further their education.
  • Through donations eligible for an Oregon IDA 75% Tax Credit, $5.5 million in matching funds was provided to 1,164 participants who reached their savings goals and made their investments.
  • Participants reported major changes in financial behaviors and confidence as a result of the education and encouragement they received.  Most notably, there were large increases in the percentage that used a budget to monitor spending, regularly made deposits to a savings account, and had an emergency fund.   
  • Beyond the immediate results of newly acquired assets for individual participants, many pointed to broader impact:  benefits to their children, other family members, their friends, co-workers, and community.