(CNSNews.com) — A new survey shows that 50% of Americans believe they are “financially worse off” than they were one year ago. In addition, only 35% said they are “financially better off” than one year ago.
“Since Gallup first asked this question in 1976, it has been rare for half or more of Americans to say they are worse off,” reported the survey firm. “The only other times this occurred was during the Great Recession era in 2008 and 2009.”
In the survey, Gallup asked 1,011 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, “Would you say that you are financially better off now than you were a year ago, or are you financially worse off now?”
in response, 50% of adults said financially worse off and 35% of adults said financially better off.
These views “follow a year of persistent high inflation, with the highest inflation rates since 1982,” said Gallup. “Stock market values declined and interest rates rose in 2022, but, on average, personal wages increased substantially.”
Before the COVID pandemic in January 2020, “Americans were almost three times as likely to say they were better off (59%) as worse off (20%),” reported Gallup. “The 59% reading is one of the highest in Gallup’s trends, along with a 58% reading in 1999.”
Among Americans who say they are financially worse off than one year ago, the highest percentage is among those with a lower income, meaning less than $40,000 a year.
Sixty-one percent of the lower-income Americans said they were worse off than one year ago. also, 49% of middle-income Americans said the same — financially worse off. And in the upper-income, 43% said they were worse off.
Despite the views of being financially worse off than one year ago, 60% of Americans said they expect to be financially better off “at this time next year.” Only 28% said they expect to be worse off.
“High inflation, rising interest rates, and declining stock values in 2022 all likely took their toll on Americans’ financial situations, with half saying their situation got worse in the past year,” said Gallup. “Lower-income Americans, who have consistently been most likely to report that higher prices are causing them financial hardship, are particularly inclined to say they are financially worse off.”
“Still, Americans remain optimistic about the year ahead for their financial situations, which they typically are, almost regardless of recent economic conditions,” concluded the polling company. “If this optimism holds and consumers act accordingly, it may help to minimize or avert an economic recession.”
To read the survey, click here.
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