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Ipsos Adults Lacking Disposable Income Oct2021

Although a select few Americans have enjoyed an increase in income during the pandemic, the pandemic has otherwise done little to improve the financial status of many Americans. Per a recent survey from Ipsos, 4 in 10 US adults say they have no disposable income. This is compared to the 35% who said the same around the start of the pandemic.

Research conducted at the start of the pandemic showed that about half of Gen Z and younger Millennials believed their household income was at risk due to the pandemic. More than one year later, it appears that this may be the case. More than half (53%) of 18-34-year-olds say they do not have money left over after paying bills. This stands in contrast to the minority of adults ages 35-54 (39%) and 55+ (29%) who say the same.

There is also a noticeable divide across racial and ethnic lines. Some 53% of Black Americans and 52% of Hispanic Americans say they do not have money left over after paying bills, while White Americans (35%) and Asian Americans (31%) are far less likely to not have disposable income. This falls in line with recent US Census Bureau data that shows Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black households have the lowest median household incomes.

Additionally, only half (49%) of Americans have funds saved for unplanned expenses such as home or car repairs. That’s slightly fewer than those who said the same at the start of the pandemic (52%).

Once again, gaps exist across age groups and race/ethnicity. Older Americans (50% of adults ages 35-54; 55% of adults 55+) are more likely than adults ages 18-34 (40%) to have enough money saved for unplanned expenses. Similarly, White Americans (53%) and Asian Americans (57%) are more likely than Hispanic Americans (43%) and Black Americans (32%) to have enough saved.

Nevertheless, there are indications that Americans are attempting to save. About two-thirds (65%) say they put money away each month, even if it’s a small amount.

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About the Data: Findings are based on a September survey of 1,177 US adults (18+).

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