Americans’ personal finances are at their worst since the Great Depression

By Casey Harper (Center Square)

Half of Americans report that their personal finances are “worse” than they were a year ago, according to a new poll.

The survey found that only 35% of Americans said they were better off than they were a year ago. The 50% who are in worse shape is the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 1976, except for the situation following the 2008 financial crisis.

These figures are even worse than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In both 2021 and 2022, Americans were evenly split on whether they were good versus bad, with a 41% to 41% split in last year’s survey,” Gallup said.

Other polling shows that many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and racking up more credit card debt.

PYMNTS released polling data earlier this month that showed 64% of US consumers say they live paycheck to paycheck.

RELATED: Poll: 60% of Americans Say Biden ‘Couldn’t Do Much’

TransUnion reports that balances among American credit card users increased by an average of 13% from 2021 to 2022.

“Consumers are being pressured on multiple fronts, firstly by this environment of high inflation, and secondly by the high interest rates that the Federal Reserve is implementing to mitigate it,” said Michelle Ranieri, vice president of U.S. research and consulting at TransUnion. “For most credit products, delinquencies remain in line with historical levels. However, levels have been rising over the past year, particularly among the subprime consumer segment, and other credit risk levels should be watched for similar increases in the coming months.”

The Rasmussen Report released a survey Wednesday showing that 85% of Americans are paying more for groceries now than they were a year ago, and most Americans expect those prices to continue to rise.

The survey comes after President Joe Biden touted economic gains since taking office. Biden pointed to the low unemployment rate and slowing inflation.

“Here at home, inflation is coming down,” Biden said. “Here at home, gas prices are $1.50 below their peak. Food inflation is falling, not fast enough but falling.

Even with growth slowing, prices are still far higher than when Biden took office, with food prices leading the way.

Republicans hammered these points in their criticism after Biden’s speech, pointing to high prices and financial problems facing Americans.

“If Joe Biden’s economy is so good, why do 70% of Americans think our country is on the wrong track?” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.

Syndicated with permission from Center Square.

READ NEXT: Biden Argues Republicans in Repeated Hexed, Wild Display During State of the Union Address