Nearly half of Americans are one medical emergency or job loss away from poverty, says a report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). According to CFED’s Assets and Opportunities Scorecard, 43.9 percent of American households are “liquid asset poor” meaning they “lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for just three months if they suffer a loss of stable income.”

And they’re not just talking about Americans living below the poverty line but also people who likely consider themselves middle class. Over a quarter of the  “liquid asset poor” make between $55,465-$90,000 a year.And as usual, racial disparities persist, with households of color being significantly more vulnerable to financial collapse:

Nearly two-thirds (62.6%) of households of color are liquid asset poor compared with slightly more than a third (34.8%) of white households. The Scorecard also found that white households have 10 times the median net worth of households of color ($110,973 and $10,824, respectively), and are considerably more likely to own a home. The homeownership rate for white households is nearly 30 percentage points higher than the rate for households of color (72% and 46.2%, respectively).

The greatest contrasts are seen in Maryland, Illinois, Wisconsin and New York, where families of color are over two times more likely than white families to be liquid asset poor.

Because they’re struggling to stay afloat, these families are unable to save for future expenses like sending their kids to college, buying a house or retiring in their old age. As CFED’s Andrea Levere put it, “In order to cope with the recession’s continued impact, these families have had to prioritize today’s expenses over tomorrow’s goals,” which she calls “particularly disturbing given the ongoing budget talks in Congress that will likely result in further reductions in the social safety net and other programs that help low- and moderate-income people get on their feet and start planning and saving for a better future.”

This echoes past studies that have indicated some 40 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck with less than $500 in savings, as noted by Pat Garofalo at Think Progress. On top of that, CFED labeled another 26 percent of American households “net worth asset poor” meaning that they have more debt than their assets are worth.

I can personally relate to all of these things. In fact, financial insecurity has defined my life for as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, my family was never living under the poverty line, but saving for college, retirement or simply taking a family vacation weren’t options when I was growing up. I also recognized, even as a kid, that we were the exception (I grew up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia). Everyone else around me seemed to be doing great. My peers went on family vacations pretty regularly and their parents paid for most, if not all, of their college tuition.

With nearly half of Americans facing the same financial struggles that my family did (and still does), I wonder how long it will last. Is it going to take all of us relying on food stamps for things to change?