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Poll: 15 percent of Americans in worse financial shape now than before pandemic

a person wearing a face mask looks at a "closed" sign on a business

About 38 million Americans are struggling more financially now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to a new poll from Impact Genome and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Overall, the majority of respondents at 55 percent reported their financial situation is essentially the same as it was pre-pandemic, and 30 percent said their situation has improved. But 15 percent of the 2,374 adults polled between Feb. 12 and March 3 said they are worse off now.

For many of those already living below the federal poverty level, their finances have declined over the past year. About 29 percent of those Americans reported struggling to make bill payments over the past three months and only 16 percent have managed to put aside money for savings.

The U.S. unemployment rate is recovering but still high — overall, the country still has 8.4 million fewer jobs than the figure reported in February 2020, the AP notes.

“I am slowly getting back on my feet but am nowhere near where I was before COVID,” poll respondent Britney Frick told the AP.

Of those who reported being in worse financial shape, the majority were Black or Hispanic Americans. Only 47 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of Black Americans reported they were able to save money recently. Comparatively, 57 percent of white Americans reported the same. 

The poll’s results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

The statistics come as ramped up vaccination efforts are helping to curb the virus infection rate in the U.S., although several areas are experiencing surges.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 pandemic Pandemics Unemployment in the United States

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