Americans Are Feeling the Squeeze of Inflation

Inflation is on the rise, and consumers are feeling the squeeze, according to recent polling by The Harris Poll on behalf of Yahoo Finance. 

In the survey, an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (78%) indicated that the price of consumer goods has changed over the past year, and more than half (56%) feel the same about regularly purchases services such as salon treatments and childcare. 

Of the Americans who have taken notice of rising prices for consumer goods, 61% report having to spend more to keep up, while only 32% say their household spending hasn’t been impacted. 

Americans’ financial health is holding (mostly) steady for now

Despite changing prices and pandemic-related economic turmoil, more than half of consumers say their personal financial situations have remained largely stable over the past year.

Six in 10 U.S. adults report that their household’s overall financial situation is no better or worse than it was a year ago. Still, it’s more common for consumers to feel that their finances have declined (24%) as opposed to improved (16%).

Compared to their generational cohorts, millennials are most likely to report an improvement in their household’s financial situation. Approximately 22% report that their overall situation has improved, compared to only 13% of Gen Xers and baby boomers, respectively.

Wages aren’t keeping up for most Americans

Although most Americans report stable financial situations, there’s a sense that they may be falling behind in terms of earnings. 

When informed that the inflation rate from March 2020 to March 2021 reached 2.6% in the U.S., only 38% of consumers reported that their household income increased at or above the same rate.

More than half (53%) reported falling behind the rate of inflation, with 15% reporting their household income increased slower than the rate of inflation, 28% reporting an income that remained flat, and 10% reporting a decrease in income. 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll between May 7-11, 2021, among 1,719 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 Dami Rosanwo.

Download the full data tables here.