- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Half of Americans responding to a new Gallup poll say they are worse off financially than they were a year ago, the most the polling company has measured since 2009.

Another 35% said they are better off financially than a year ago and the remaining 15% said things are unchanged, Gallup reported Wednesday. More than half of Americans said they were worse off in 2008 and 2009, the highest percentages since Gallup started asking the question in 1976.

“High inflation, rising interest rates, and declining stock values in 2022 all likely took their toll on Americans’ financial situations, with half saying their situation got worse in the past year,” Gallup said.

Americans were split evenly on whether they were better off or worse off in 2021 and 2022, including a 41%-41% split in last year’s survey.

“By contrast, before the pandemic in January 2020, Americans were almost three times as likely to say they were better off (59%) as worse off (20%),” Gallup said. “The 59% reading is one of the highest in Gallup‘s trends, along with a 58% reading in 1999.”

In this year’s survey, Americans from all income levels were likelier to say they were worse off financially than better off since last year. That share increased as income decreased, with 61% of low-income Americans saying they are worse off as 2023 begins.

According to the survey, 60% of Americans expect to be better off financially a year from now, continuing a trend of optimism in Gallup polling.

But the company noted that the percentage is down from polls conducted between 2015 and 2020, including a record-high 74% in January 2020 who expected to be better off a year later. 

Gallup conducted the randomized national telephone survey of 1,011 adults on Jan. 2-22. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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