Report: More Than One-Third Of Americans Struggle To Meet Their Basic Needs

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Nearly half of Americans struggle to pay their monthly bills, and more than one-third struggle to afford food or shelter

According to results from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 2017 survey of financial well-being in America, more than one third of Americans are experiencing financial hardships – from running out of food to being unable to afford medical care or a place to live – and nearly half of Americans are struggling to pay their monthly bills.

The numbers parallel MarketWatch’s own State of the American Wallet dashboard, which tracks how Americans are faring financially with data that updates in real time.

The State of the American Wallet shows how Americans are saddled with mounting car loan and credit card debt and not saving enough money — even enough to cover emergency expenses. Meanwhile, people in the top 1% control a growing share of the nation’s wealth.

The CFPB, whose mission and practices continue to shift under the leadership of interim director Mick Mulvaney, surveyed 6,300 Americans in 2016 and asked an array of questions regarding financial well-being.

[T]he CFPB survey found a wide range in how respondents felt about their financial well-being. Respondents were assigned scores on a scale of 1 to 100 after answering 10 questions. A score of 50 or lower meant the respondent was likely to be struggling to make ends meet. The average score was 54, but there was a 35-point spread between the top 10% and bottom 10% of participants.

The survey included questions on whether respondents could “enjoy life” because of the way they managed their money, and how often respondents had money left over at the end of the month. The public can take the survey and find out their financial well-being score here.