Personal Family Finances, Sep 2022

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

Americans Feeling Economic Strain as Nearly 4 in 10 Report Deteriorating Personal Finances

Nearly four in ten Americans are feeling financially strapped. 37% report their family finances have gotten worse over the past year, an 8-point jump since February. More than one in four U.S. residents say they have had to use their savings a great deal or good amount to meet their monthly expenses. And, to compound matters, nearly three in four are doing at least one of the following to meet monthly expenses: cutting back on going out to eat, driving less to save gas, cutting back on groceries, changing vacation plans, or skipping medical appointments or prescriptions. Nearly one in five are skipping or delaying, at least, one payment on bills such as their rent or mortgage, credit cards, or medical bills.

Family Finances in the U.S.
In the past year, have your personal family finances gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted August 29th through September 1st, 2022, n=1,236 MOE +/- 4.1 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • 37% of Americans say their personal family finances have gotten worse in the past year. This is an 8-percentage point increase since February 2022. 18%, down from 23% in February, say their finances have improved.

  • Americans earning $50,000 or less are three times less likely than higher wage earners to say their financial picture has improved in the last year.

  • More than one in four Americans (27%), including one in three who earn less than $50,000 annually, have had to use a great deal or a good amount of their savings to meet their family’s monthly expenses in the last six months. More than one in ten Americans (11%) have had to use a great deal of their savings to make ends meet.

  • Nearly three in four Americans (72%) have had to cut back on, at least, one necessity or nicety in the past six months to meet their monthly expenses. 54% of Americans say they have eaten out less; 40% have driven less or carpooled more to save on gas; 39% have cut back on food or groceries; 35% have skipped a vacation or changed travel plans, and 18% have skipped a doctor’s visit or getting prescription drugs.

  • Nearly one in five Americans (18%) say they have skipped or delayed paying, at least, one bill in the past six months to meet their monthly expenses. Nine percent have missed or skipped paying medical bills or insurance; 9% have skipped or delayed making credit card payments; 8% have delayed or skipped paying their rent or mortgage. Notably, nearly one in four Americans who earn less than $25,000 annually have missed a rent or mortgage payment.

"When Americans weigh in on their economic situation, many are having difficulty making ends meet," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "This forces many families to make tough choices or to dip into their savings."