Fed Survey: 25% of U.S. Households Are 'Just Getting By'

×
USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, man counting coins
Tetra Images/Alamy
WASHINGTON -- A quarter of U.S. households say they're "just getting by" financially, a survey by the Federal Reserve shows.

The Fed issued the first-time report Thursday, describing it as a snapshot of how Americans perceive their financial and economic well-being. The survey of about 4,100 households was conducted from Sept. 17 through Oct. 4, 2013.

Thirteen percent said they were struggling to get by, and 34 percent reported they were somewhat worse off or much worse off than before the Great Recession hit in 2008.

Other findings: a third of those who had applied for credit in the previous 12 months said they were turned down or given less than they requested, and 24 percent had some type of education debt.

Thirty-one percent of people who aren't retired said they had no retirement savings or pension, including 19 percent of those aged 55 to 64. Nearly half of adults weren't actively thinking about financial planning for retirement, with 25 percent saying they had done no planning at all.

Twenty-six percent of homeowners said they expected prices in their neighborhood to increase by as much as 5 percent in the 12 months following the survey period.

As the economic recovery enters its sixth year, a number of factors help explain why many Americans don't feel better off: Income hasn't rebounded. Millions are working part time even though they want full-time jobs. It's taking longer to find work. People are still struggling with mortgage debt. Most people don't feel free to spend as much as they once did.

A new annual report released Thursday by the Commerce Department shows that consumer spending has soared since the recession ended in U.S. states with oil and gas drilling booms and has lagged in states hit especially hard by the housing market bust. The state-by-state report points to substantial shifts in the economy since the recession.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

What is Inflation?

Why do prices go up?

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

67 Comments

Filter by:
jrb359

DC seems to think that everyone is prosperous and successful living here in the US. Reality is we are struggling. Maybe some of the foreign aid money and other government waste should go to the people that worked for it and earned it!

August 08 2014 at 2:17 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lyvilulac

I personally know at least 20 skilled tradesmen who were electricians, carpenters, plumbers and cement finishers, who all were working making decent living wages with health insurance until the end of 2011. Today they all have one of these min wage economic recovery unskilled part time no health benefit jobs, their unemployment has run out.. Yep the labor market is firming alright, the cheap labor unskilled part time McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wall Mart shelve stocking, auto parts driver jobs are booming. The problem is they can't afford to buy gasoline and food let alone pay their rent today.

I, myself, have been struggling. I’m employed (temp work) but can’t afford health insurance. I don’t drive much either cause I can’t afford gas. My bare minimum $19 car insurance from Insurance Panda (god bless it) might not be the best coverage. I cut cable and internet and I haven’t been out to eat or to the movies in god knows how long.

We need to seriously re-think America and our economy. Excessive regulation, lawsuits, billion dollar fines by the government, gigantic health care payments, no growth policies like no keystone pipeline, and millions of illegal immigrants aren’t going to be the answer.

August 08 2014 at 11:51 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Iselin007
Politicians make sure their family and friends get in on the civil service jobs ect so they can collect that fat pension from taxpayers. After some retire from a goverment/civil service position they can comeback under a different title and resume collecting a fat pay check which is why our taxes are so damn high!

August 08 2014 at 10:36 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The survey would of showed a higher percentage if it covered a broader area. Nothing was said about where or how the survey was taken. Less landlines available.

August 08 2014 at 10:10 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
k4jlp

The sad part about this is the fact that it does not have to be this way. Way to much money is being transferred from MY WALLET to the energy and healthcare/insurance industry, all the while Congress spends their time making sure Obama looks bad. We are not stupid, we know when kids don't learn how to play well with others and will NOT FORGET.

August 08 2014 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to k4jlp's comment
gee.effwye

Start your own energy and insurance companies and give your products and services away for free.

August 08 2014 at 11:27 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
ED

Of the folks that are "just getting by". I wonder how many of them have a bunch of tatoos, $500 phones/toys, $600 a month car payments, a bunch of kids they can't take care of, and on and on and on. You can spend your money on anything you want. It's your business. BUT, don't whine about "just getting by" when you have all the money you need for your extras in life.

August 08 2014 at 7:49 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

congress is not just getting by.
many, many, many government employees are not just getting by.
how many private sector workers does it take to pay the salary and benefits of one government worker? things are very wrong today and we continue to head down the wrong path. I had hope this administration would change our path. it's the same path.

August 08 2014 at 7:42 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scottee's comment
Iselin007

The government or public sector includes federal, state, municipal, and county workers.

August 08 2014 at 10:26 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
DENNIS

What is the best way to take a poll?

August 08 2014 at 6:20 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
frank1946

Takes $ 1 Trillion every 4 months to keep the wheels on the Economy.

Borrowed or Printed by the FED.

Debt is not Wealth..................No Business Confidence in Obama !

August 08 2014 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to frank1946's comment
scottee

if The Fed can just print dollars, why tax us at all???

August 08 2014 at 7:43 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
SoquiliAsgaya

The federal debt of bush/cheney raised has been and continuing to be drastically reduced by Obama. Part of the trillion you mention is with cheneys halliburton and black water

August 08 2014 at 7:57 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SoquiliAsgaya's comment
gee.effwye

That's the most ignorant post on the board.

usdebtclock.org

August 08 2014 at 11:19 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
gee.effwye

No hope

August 08 2014 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gee.effwye's comment
scottee

no hope, only change. and politicians and their campaign donors are the elite 1%.

August 08 2014 at 7:44 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply