More than half of U.S. adults said this month that higher prices have caused financial hardship for their households after a year marked by the worst inflation in four decades and souring consumer sentiment, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.
That November figure “essentially unchanged” from August, with the share of adults experiencing hardship dropping to 55% from 56%, but nonetheless higher than the 45% of Americans who said they were in the same boat a year ago, Gallup said.
“There are signs that inflation is easing, even though prices remain higher now than they were a year ago,” Jeffrey M. Jones, senior editor at Gallup, said in a post for the polling firm’s website. “The fact that Americans’ self-reports of financial hardship are leveling off rather than declining is likely a reflection of just how much prices have risen over the past year, and how much further inflation needs to subside before most Americans no longer feel burdened by it.”
U.S. prices were up 7.7% in October compared to the year prior, according to the latest data from the Labor Department, driven primarily by higher costs of shelter, food, and energy. While inflation may be waning, the impact has already been substantial for some lower-income families: households that typically put a large chunk of their income toward rent, for example, might have found themselves struggling to pay for bills when the price of housing rose.
Gallup’s poll, which was conducted from Nov. 9 to Nov. 27 and included a web survey of more than 1,800 U.S. adults, also found that 77% of lower-income respondents faced financial hardship from price increases, compared to 60% of middle-income adults and 42% of upper-income adults.
Of the lower-income respondents, 28% said they were experiencing “severe” financial hardship, which Gallup described as affecting one’s “ability to maintain your current standard of living.” That’s compared to 13% of adults overall — the highest percentage experiencing severe hardship to date, Gallup said, but similar to the rate of 12% seen in August and “fairly stable” compared to what’s been recorded in the past year.
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