Case Study • 1 min Read
In spite of inflation reaching a near 40-year high, the majority of U.S. adults feel that their personal financial situation is unchanged compared to last year, according recent polling by The Harris Poll.
Overall, the personal financial situations of most U.S. adults has remained stable over the past year.
Three-quarters (75%) of U.S. adults report that their personal financial situation is the same or better than it was a year ago. About half (54%) of U.S. adults report that their financial situation has stayed the same, and an additional 21% say that their personal financial situation has gotten better. A quarter report that their financial situation has gotten worse.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a direct relationship between household wealth and perceived financial situations. Wealthier households more often feel like their financial situation has improved over the past year, with 37% of those with a household wealth of over $500K reporting an improvement of their financial situation (compared to just 13% of those with a household wealth of below $10K).
Poorer households more often feel that their financial situation has worsened, with 40% of those with a household wealth of less than $10K reporting a decline in their personal financial situation over the past year (compared to just 9% of those with a household wealth of over $500K).
Personal financial situations skew perceptions of the broader economy
Two thirds of U.S. adults feel that the average American household’s financial situation is the same or better now compared to a year ago. That said, one’s economic position likely informs how they view the broader economy.
Only 16% of US adults feel that American households are financially better off now than they were a year ago. However, those in a stronger economic position more frequently report an optimistic view. Three in ten (29%) people with a household wealth of over $500K report that the average American household is financially better off now compared to last year. Almost two thirds (61%) of those who report that their personal financial situation has improved report that the financial situation of the average American household has done the same.
Four in ten (44%) U.S. adults feel that the average American household is financially worse off now compared to a year ago. That said, those in a weaker economic position more frequently report a pessimistic view of the average American household’s financial situation. Half (51%) of those with a household wealth of less than $10K and 87% of those whose personal financial situation has declined report that the average American household is financially worse off compared to a year ago.
Most U.S. adults are contributing to their household savings
Many US adults are saving money – be it as a short-term or long-term investment – with three quarters (73%) reporting that their household’s overall savings has either stayed the same or increased over the last 5 years.
A third (34%) of US adults report that their household’s overall savings has increased over the last 5 years, and 59% say that their household is actively contributing to long-term savings (e.g., investment account, savings account). Half of U.S. adults agree that their household is actively saving for a large expenditure, such as tuition or a house.
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll from March 4-7, 2022 among 1,048 U.S. adults (ages 18 and older). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For more information on methodology, please contact Madelyn Franz or Andrew Laningham.
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