April 1, 2013

Many Americans – Particularly Low-Income Families – Still Facing Financial Stress

Although the country officially has emerged from recession, most Americans with low family incomes are experiencing financial problems. Overall, 42% of the public say they have faced one or more of the following in the past year: difficulty obtaining or paying for medical care; problems paying their rent or mortgage; or losing a job.

Among those with family incomes of less than $30,000 a year, 60% have faced one or more of these problems in the past year. By comparison, only about a quarter (24%) of those with incomes over$75,000 report encountering at least one of these problems.

Blacks continue to be much more likely than whites to face these financial problems. About half of blacks (54%) say they have either had problems getting or paying for medical care, trouble affording their rent or mortgage or been laid off. By comparison, 38% of whites have faced one or more of these problems.

When it comes to overall assessments of their personal finances, impressions have changed little in recent years. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) say their finances are in excellent or good shape, while 41% say their finances are only fair and 21% say their finances are poor. While a majority (63%) of those with family incomes of at least $75,000 rate their finances positively, just 19% of those with incomes below $30,000 do the same. Read more