Americans Continue to Think Economic Conditions Will Remain the Same

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – May 1, 2013 – While the S&P may have hit new highs and housing prices are on the rebound, there is still a great deal of caution in the minds of Americans regarding the economy. Looking ahead, three in ten Americans (29%) expect the economy to improve in the coming year, 41% expect it to stay the same and three in ten (29%) expect it to get worse. These are similar to last month, when 30% said the economy would improve, 37% said it would stay the same and 33% said it would get worse.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,345 adults surveyed online between April 10 and 15, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

    Looking at household financial conditions, while about half of Americans (49%) say their financial conditions will stay the same over the next six months, one in five (22%) say it will get better and almost three in ten (28%) believe it will get worse. In March, these numbers were similar, with one in five thinking their household’s financial condition would get better (21%), three in ten saying it would get worse (30%) and about half (49%) believing it would remain the same.

    Some specific concerns

    There are some individual concerns that many Americans have, and one of the top ones is retirement. Almost three-quarters of Americans (72%) say they are worried, with 35% very worried, that they will not have enough money for retirement. Almost three in five U.S. adults (58%) are worried that they will have to work later in life than they want because they will not be able to afford to retire. Another concern is having enough money; while two in five (41%) say they are worried about not having enough money for basic necessities such as food, housing, clothes and transportation, over half (52%) of Americans are worried they will not be able to afford anything more than the basic necessities.

    Paying for certain things is also a concern. Among employed Americans, two-thirds (65%) say they are worried they will have health care costs they cannot afford while 43% say they are worried that they or their spouse will have to take on a second job to make ends meet. Parents are also concerned about expenses and their children. Two-thirds of parents with a child under the age of 21 (67%) say they are worried they will not have enough money for one or more of their children to go to college. And, one-third (35%) of parents with a child of any age are worried that their child or children will have to move back in with them because they will not be able to afford housing.

    Looking back, the housing market was a large factor and indicator of the economic troubles for the country. As housing prices go up, are homeowners on better footing? Over three-quarters of homeowners (77%) say they are not worried that they will lose their home because they cannot afford the mortgage payments. Was this the case 5 years ago?

     

    TABLE 1

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

    In the coming year, do you expect the economy to’e2’80_?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    April

    May

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    39

    38

    46

    40

    34

    38

    30

    29

    28

    30

    34

    29

    Stay the same

    35

    35

    32

    36

    37

    34

    42

    39

    40

    40

    41

    45

    Get worse

    26

    27

    22

    24

    29

    28

    28

    32

    32

    30

    25

    26

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Feb

    June

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Dec.

    Feb.

    Feb.

    March

    April

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    34

    26

    23

    21

    20

    23

    36

    32

    30

    29

    Stay the same

    42

    41

    41

    45

    46

    47

    40

    40

    37

    41

    Get worse

    25

    33

    37

    34

    34

    29

    24

    28

    33

    29

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 2

    EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

    Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    2013

    Feb.

    March

    April

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    23

    21

    22

    Much better

    3

    3

    4

    Somewhat better

    20

    17

    18

    Will remain the same

    50

    49

    49

    WORSE (NET)

    27

    30

    28

    Somewhat worse

    20

    21

    20

    Much worse

    7

    9

    8

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding;

     


    TABLE 3

    ECONOMIC CONCERNS

    Thinking of the following, how worried are you that they might occur?

    Base: Variable base

    WORRIED

    (NET)

    Very worried

    Somewhat worried

    NOT WORRIED

    (NET)

    Not that worried

    Not at all worried

    I will not have enough money for retirement

     

    %

    72

    35

    37

    28

    19

    8

    I will not have enough money for one or more of my children to go to college

    %

    67

    32

    35

    33

    21

    11

    I will have health care costs that I can’t afford

    %

    65

    32

    34

    35

    24

    11

    I will have to work later in life than I want because I won’t be able to afford to retire

    %

    58

    29

    30

    42

    18

    23

    I will not be able to afford anything more than the basic necessities

    %

    52

    20

    32

    48

    29

    19

    My spouse or I will have to take on a second job to make ends meet

    %

    43

    15

    28

    57

    30

    27

    I will not have enough money for basic necessities such as food, housing, clothes and transport

    %

    41

    15

    26

    59

    31

    28

    My child or children will have to move back in with me because they will not be able to afford housing

    %

    35

    14

    21

    65

    27

    38

    I will lose my home because I can’t afford the mortgage payments

    23

    9

    14

    77

    36

    41

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

    To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between April 10 and 15, 2013 among 2,345 adults (aged 18 and over). 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 also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J42776

    705, 713, 730

    The Harris Poll  #23, May 1, 2013

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

    About Harris Interactive

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