As Americans take stock of their personal finances, 35% claim they have improved since last year, while an astounding 50% are now worse off. To put this into context, Gallup first posed this question in 1976, and it has rarely seen such drastic responses, with half or more citing negative impacts; the only other time was during the Great Recession period from 2008-2009.
Before the pandemic, Americans Thought They Were Better Off
On the contrary, today’s “better off” percentage is not particularly low compared to other economic recessions in recent history. In fact, it has fallen as low as 35% or even lower during times of financial strife – including 1977-81, the 1990s, and more recently from 2008-2012. During these periods’ a higher proportion than today’s 14% reported that their finances were unchanged compared to last year.
According to a Gallup poll taken between January 2-22, in spite of inflation hitting an all-time high since 1982 and the stock market dipping during 2022, ordinary wages had skyrocketed. The findings were remarkable: 41% of Americans reported being better off or worse off similarly when surveyed in 2021 and 2022! This is indicative that individuals have been able to achieve greater financial stability despite economic instability.
Before the pandemic in January 2020, Americans‘ sentiment about financial security was at an all-time high. A whopping 59% reported being better off than before, while only 20% said their economic statuses had worsened – approximately three times less! This marked one of the highest readings recorded by Gallup, just barely below its record high of 58% in 1999.
Low-Income American’s Are Getting Poorer By The Day
In stark contrast, 61% of lower-income Americans feel that their finances have deteriorated over the last year, compared to only 26% who reported an improvement. Though middle and upper-class citizens are more likely than not to also express financial hardship, there is far less disparity between those doing well and those struggling than for individuals with a smaller income range.
This year, 41% of lower-income Americans reported feeling worse off than last year. Additionally, 10 percentage points more upper-income citizens expressed a similar sentiment. Middle-income individuals’ responses were comparable to the initial survey results. Evidently, political orientation is linked with personal finance evaluations; 61% of Republicans feel they are faring worse, while only 37% of Democrats share this opinion – in fact, 47% believe otherwise and that their situation has improved!
Typically, Democrats are more satisfied with their economic status while a Democratic president is in office, whereas Republicans seem to fare better when there is a Republican president.
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