Respect Poverty

63 percent of Americans say they’re living paycheck to paycheck: survey

The majority of those living paycheck-to-paycheck said inflation is making it harder to reach long-term financial goals.
Person handing over paycheck.

Story at a glance

  • New data from PYMNTS and LendingClub show a majority of American consumers are living paycheck to paycheck.

  • However, totals were even higher among those making less than $50,000 per year.

  • The report also detailed trends in savings among Americans.

Sixty-three percent of U.S. consumers reported living paycheck to paycheck last month, according to a new survey from PYMNTS and LendingClub. 

The findings come amid high inflation and housing costs as many Americans tighten their purse strings to help make ends meet. 

Although the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck is similar to the rate reported at the same time last year, it’s 3 percentage points higher than in Oct. 2022. The total reached a historic high of 64 percent in March 2022. 

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Those earning incomes surpassing $100,000 annually also reported the steepest increase in this status, with totals jumping 4 percentage points from October to November, to a total of 47 percent.  

In comparison, 76 percent of Americans with incomes less than $50,000 per year lived paycheck to paycheck last month. Two-thirds of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 each year said the same. 

PYMNTS and LendingClub carried out the survey among 3,895 U.S. consumers. Of those who reported living paycheck to paycheck, 57 percent said inflation is making it harder for them to reach long-term goals.

“From a high of 9.1 [percent] in July, inflation inched down to 7.1 [percent] in November 2022 but is still far away from the desired 2 [percent] set by the Federal Reserve,” report authors wrote. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve issued its smallest interest rate hike since June, signaling it sees inflation easing. 

More than 40 percent of consumers living paycheck to paycheck said they were able to pay their bills without issue in November, while 31 percent of those who reported issues said paying off debt is their most pressing short-term financial goal.

When it comes to savings, one-third of respondents said they’re not currently saving any money, with 60 percent of these consumers reporting they have no preexisting savings. Thirty-two percent of Americans also said they’re saving less now than a year ago.

“Paycheck-to-paycheck consumers are half as likely to be stable savers and seven times more likely than those who do not live paycheck to paycheck to have neither savings nor saving capacity,” authors wrote.

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