Despite Signs of Economic Recovery, the Most Economically Vulnerable Americans Face Serious Financial Challenges

Despite Signs of Economic Recovery, the Most Economically Vulnerable Americans Face Serious Financial Challenges

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 percent of Americans, including 29 percent of those who were living below the federal poverty line pre-panemic, say they are financially worse off than they were twelve months ago, a survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds. According to the Impact Genome/AP-NORC Poll (17 pages, PDF) of nearly twenty-four hundred U.S. adults, 18 percent of respondents living below the poverty line reported falling behind on paying their bills by between $100 and $500 per month over the past three months, while another 4 percent were behind by more than $500 per month, yet only 15 percent said they were receiving assistance such as debt relief or financial counseling. Funded by the Lincoln Financial Foundation, the survey also found that 30 percent of respondents said their financial situation had improved during the pandemic, including 34 percent of those with household incomes above 200 percent of the poverty line, compared with 19 percent of those with incomes between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty line and 13 percent of those below the poverty line. More than half (52 percent) of all respondents, 57 percent of white respondents, and 39 percent of Black respondents reported that they were saving more money during the pandemic than they had been pre-pandemic.