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Lazare writes: "Report finds 44 percent of people in U.S. have less than three months' worth of savings, leaving them one emergency away from disaster."

More and more Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. (photo: Shutterstock)
More and more Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. (photo: Shutterstock)

Nearly Half of Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck

By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams

01 February 14


Report finds 44 percent of people in U.S. have less than three months' worth of savings, leaving them one emergency away from disaster.

early half of all people in the United States face "persistent financial insecurity" and are forced to live paycheck to paycheck without the savings necessary to weather them through life problems that can be unavoidable - like a medical emergency or a broken car.

So finds the 2014 Assets and Opportunities Scorecard released Thursday by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. According to the report, 44 percent of people in the United States live in "liquid asset poverty," which means they own less than three months' worth of savings ($5,887 for a family of four).

Without a safety net, a liquid asset poor family must borrow to deal with unforeseen financial emergencies. "For the 56% of consumers who have sub-prime credit scores, the only option may be to take out a high-cost-often predatory-loan, which can create a cycle of debt and worsen financial insecurity," the report notes.

People with low incomes and people of color are disproportionately liquid asset poor, with two of every three households of color and four out of five of the lowest-income households (making less than $18,193) falling into this category, according to the report. Furthermore, liquid asset poverty hits the U.S. south the hardest, the study finds.

Yet the problem, which the study says is stuck at high levels, does not spare the so-called middle class. A quarter of all middle class homes have less than three months of savings.

Yet, previous research suggests the CFED report might be an under-count. A survey this summer by found that less than one in four Americans has enough money saved to cover six months' worth of expenses. your social media marketing partner


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+16 # reiverpacific 2014-02-01 11:06
If this is an "Official" report, you can bet y'r keesters that it's a lot worse.
And I wonder if they even take into account the appalling conditions of American Indians on the likes of Pine Ridge who are the most invisible, neglected and have the shortest lifespan of all demographics.
ARE YOU LISTENING Mr DIMON ad Y'R ilk? -Of course not; let them eat -what??
+10 # diacad 2014-02-01 12:19
I wonder if the percentage of financial insecurity would be even higher if "net worth" were considered instead of merely "savings". Many people have huge mortgages and other long-term debt without sufficient tangible assets to back it up - even those with more than three months savings - rendering their net worth near or even below zero.
+11 # DaveM 2014-02-01 12:36
One might also point out that there has been a major change in the demographic of America's poor over the years. Prior to World War II, the majority of Americans, lived in rural areas or on farms. Those who had no money could, and often did, grow their own food. For that matter, more well-off Americans had "Victory Gardens" during World War II.

America's poor now tend to be concentrated in apartment complexes. You can't grow your own food in an apartment. For that matter, it is difficult if not impossible to perform many "do it yourself" tasks--car maintenance and the like to name one example. A number of factors are solidly in place to stop people from taking care of themselves even when they want to.
+7 # reiverpacific 2014-02-01 14:11
I still think that the CREDIT BUREAU SYSTEM should be scrapped and replaced with government - supervised REGIONAL or State oversight, with circumstances being considered in mitigation, not the broad-brush dismissal of everyone who falls behind a bit.
They are corrupt, wildly inaccurate and almost impossible to work with yet THREE huge PRIVATE companies can ruin a small-business or individual who has had a bit of bad luck, now ever more needful for abolition as the great recession lingers on, so many jobless and businesses not being supported, yet these behemoths continue to stomp on people and condemn them to punitive interest rates or the criminal payday loan industry -if they have paydays any more.
Plus unemployment benefits under attack and food stamps being shredded are just making life harder for individuals and families across the board -while representatives enrich themselves and join the millionaire's club by denying US the benefits that WE continue to pay for them, about the only work they seem capable of doing!
"Family Values" -p'shaw!
A tax revolt is needed methinks.
+5 # Glen 2014-02-01 15:14
The poor, working poor, homeless, and those on the borderline between middle class and poor, are scattered all over the country. I've met too many.

There are too many citizens who continue to deny the fact of poverty, also. That is the biggest factor blocking improvement. The wealthy don't care, but if citizens in general don't support those who struggle, there will be no attention given. In fact, workers who are doing all right have no sympathy at all for the poor and/or working poor.

THAT is the ulterior motive of the wealthy and government - to divide the country so that the poor go unnoticed.
+3 # Jingze 2014-02-02 09:33
Blame the greedy employers, who are obviously more interested in personal profit than they are in a reasonable quality of life for everyone they employ. A country whose employers will not pay a living wage to its employees is clear evidence that it is a declining nation, lacking in compassion and fairness for all of its citizens and those who live within its borders. Government is not the problem here. It is forced to spend taxpayer monies supporting those whose employers just don't care.

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