Majority of Americans Now Living Paycheck to Paycheck, Survey Reveals

By John Lopez

Apr 09, 2024 04:14 PM EDT

A recent survey conducted by CNBC and SurveyMonkey has shed light on the financial realities faced by the majority of Americans. 

According to the survey results, a staggering 65% of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck, drawing a small increase from the previous year's 58%. 

The survey polled 498 U.S. adults and included a broader international perspective, encompassing 4,342 adults worldwide, with representation from Mexico, Australia, and Singapore. 

More Americans Facing Financial Challenges

Financial stressors contributing to this phenomenon vary widely among respondents. The top concerns cited include inflation (69%), lack of savings (59%), rising interest rates (28%), credit card debt (33%), medical or healthcare bills (28%), layoffs or loss of income (21%), and student loans (15%). These challenges reflect the multifaceted nature of financial insecurity and the diverse factors impacting individuals' economic well-being.

The survey also delves into Americans' aspirations regarding financial stability. Notably, 42% of respondents prioritize spending less money than they earn as the key to achieving financial stability, while 33% emphasize the importance of securing a well-paid and steady job. Additionally, 11% express a desire to pursue entrepreneurship to attain financial security.

Survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey reveals 65% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Top concerns: inflation, lack of savings, debt. Different generations face varied challenges.
(Photo : Photo by Money Knack on Unsplash)

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The Impact of Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

An earlier report by Forbes provides further insights into the prevalence and underlying causes of living paycheck to paycheck. Statistics from the survey indicate that 78% of Americans find themselves in this precarious financial situation, with more than three-quarters struggling to save or invest after covering monthly expenses.

The impact of living paycheck to paycheck varies across generations, with certain age groups facing greater challenges. Baby Boomers, nearing retirement or already retired, emerge as the most affected, with 49% reporting living paycheck to paycheck. Conversely, Millennials exhibit lower rates of financial insecurity compared to other generations.

The root causes of living paycheck to paycheck also differ among demographic groups. Gen Z respondents attribute their financial struggles primarily to high monthly living expenses, while Millennials cite a lack of budgeting and financial planning. 

Meanwhile, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers point to factors such as low income and rising living costs as significant contributors to their financial dilemmas.

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