Nearly 40% of Americans Facing Difficulties Making Ends Meet, Census Finds

May 29, 2023Financial Literacy, News

The Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey showed that 38.5 percent of American adults, or 89.1 million people, faced hardship in paying their typical home expenses between April 26 and May 8. That share is up from 34.4 percent in 2022 and 26.7 percent in 2021, and is higher than during the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey found that the share of struggling households varies vastly according to geography. Households facing the biggest budget problems are located in states with lower median incomes, like Louisiana or Mississippi. In metro areas like Los Angeles and Riverside, California, nearly half of households are facing difficulty.

In 15 states, over 40 percent of adults live in households where it has been at least somewhat difficult to pay for usual household items over the last week. Many households are turning to credit cards to help combat these budget problems, as more than 25 million households say they got a loan or used credit cards to meet their financial needs, which is up from 22.4 million in 2022.

Experts predict that the use of credit cards will bring added budget concerns in the near terms, especially as the average interest rate on credit card debt exceeds 20 percent, according to Bloomberg.

The Census Bureau collaborates with various federal agencies to compile the survey data developed during the pandemic to study household experiences to help inform state and federal governments.

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