Thursday, May 20, 2021

Remarkable Stability in "Doing Okay"

Three out of four adults say they are doing at least okay financially, according to the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, fielded in the fourth quarter of 2020. The 75 percent figure is identical to what was reported at the same time one year earlier—before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Fed's 2020 survey asked Americans about their financial wellbeing not only at the end of 2020, but also at two other times during the year as it tracked the impact of the pandemic on household finances. In April 2020, the percentage who said they were doing at least okay financially dipped to 72 percent. By July, it had climbed to 77 percent. This increase, explains the Fed, "is consistent with some interpretations that many aspects of government stimulus measures...appear to have blunted the negative financial effects of the pandemic for many families."

Here are the percentages of adults who said they were doing at least okay financially as of the fourth quarter of 2020 by selected demographic characteristics, and percentage point change since 2019...

Family income
$100,000 or more: 95% (0)
$50,000 to $99,999: 84% (0)
$25,000 to $49,999: 65% (-2)
Less than $25,000: 52% (0)

Black: 64% (-2)
Hispanic: 64% (-2)
Non-Hispanic white: 80% (+1)

Parental status
No children: 78% (+1)
Children: 67% (-4)

Metro status
Metro area: 76% (0)
Nonmetro area: 69% (-3)

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020

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