How Middle and Low-Income Americans Are Doing Financially

  • US inflation is at a four-decade high, and Americans across income brackets are feeling the squeeze.
  • In May, Gallup highlighted Americans’ concerns about finances – from paying rent to covering medical costs.
  • These charts show Americans’ financial circumstances based on a variety of survey results and data.

Americans are stressed out about inflation, which is at a four-decade high. They’re seeing inflation’s impact as they travel and spend money on goods and services like groceries, flights, and gas.

“Everybody is buying food, everybody is buying gas, everybody’s paying utility bills, so it’s affecting everybody,” Jeffrey Jones, senior editor at Gallup, told Insider. “Obviously, upper-income people can absorb those price increases easier than lower-income people can.”

As Insider recently reported, Americans are not feeling so great about the US economy in general, with the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index plummeting to a new monthly low in June. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index dropped to -45 in May, which Jones wrote is “the lowest reading in Gallup’s trend during the coronavirus pandemic, and likely the lowest confidence has been since the tail end of the Great


Recession

in early 2009. “

Jones pointed out to Insider one Gallup poll asking Americans how they rated their finances. For middle income, 55% said their finances were excellent or good in 2021, higher than the 41% of middle-income respondents who said this in 2022. Upper income saw the second-largest percentage-point drop but still had the highest share saying their finances are excellent or good like in 2021. Just under a quarter of lower-income respondents said their finances are excellent or good in the 2022 poll.

But rising prices are not affecting every American equally.

With half of US adults residing in middle-income households and lower-income households feeling inflation pressures more than top earners, we took a look at survey results and data over time to see how Americans’ financial situations have been doing and how they are feeling about their circumstances.

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