BIDENOMICS: Majority Of Middle-Class Americans Say They Struggle Financially

A satirical protest sticker critical of American President Joe Biden, with text reading I Did That, has been placed on a gasoline pump in Lafayette, California, likely to imply responsibility for high gasoline prices, December 29, 2021. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Almost two-thirds of Americans considered middle class said they are facing economic hardship and don’t anticipate a change for the rest of their lives, according to a poll commissioned by the National True Cost of Living Coalition.

By many traditional measures, the US economy is strong, with robust labor, housing and stock markets, as well as solid gross domestic product growth. But the data don’t capture the financial insecurity of millions of households who worry about their future and are unable to save, according to the group, created this year to come up with cost-of-living tools that help gauge economic well-being.

In the large poll of 2,500 adults, 65% of people who earn more than 200% of the federal poverty level — that’s at least $60,000 for a family of four, often considered middle class — said they are struggling financially.

A sizable share of higher-income Americans also feel financially insecure. The survey shows that a quarter of people making over five times the federal poverty level — an annual income of more than $150,000 for a family of four — worry about paying their bills.

Overall, regardless of the income level, almost 6 in 10 respondents feel that they are currently financially struggling.

“The economy is booming, and yet many Americans are still gasping for air financially,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, an anti-poverty advocacy organization that is part of the team that commissioned the poll. “They simply don’t have the breathing room to plan beyond their present needs.”

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