Although Americans’ income has grown since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation appears to be outstripping their compensation gains, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Two-thirds of respondents claimed that their household costs have increased since the pandemic, compared with about a quarter who indicated that their incomes have increased.
Half of the respondents said their incomes have stayed the same. Approximately a quarter reported that their incomes have fallen.
The rapid price increases that have proliferated throughout the economy have compelled many Americans to alter their spending habits. About one-third indicated that they’re driving less frequently, and approximately three in ten Americans revealed that they’re purchasing less meat than they usually do.
Over the past year, gas prices have surged roughly fifty percent, and the cost of meat has climbed by fifteen percent.
The majority of people surveyed indicated that the drastically higher prices for goods and services in recent months had at least a minor impact on their financial status, including about four in ten who said the upheaval has been substantial.
According to the poll, low-income households have borne the brunt of the financial burden.
There is a stark partisan split in the poll. Only one in ten Republicans believes the economy is “good,” while over half of Democrats believe the economy is in a good state.
However, when questioned about their personal financial situations, the respondents tended to be more positive and less polarized on partisan lines.
Roughly two-thirds of those surveyed indicated that their finances are on solid footing. Approximately seventy percent of Democrats and sixty percent of Republicans are comfortable with their financial situation.
Americans’ concerns about inflation have likely been driven by rising prices in the everyday items they usually buy. For example, the poll found that eighty-five percent said they were paying higher prices for food and gas in recent months.
Sixty percent echoed similar observations about the cost of electricity. Approximately four in ten said they recently purchased appliances, and prices were higher than expected.
These effects are more pronounced among middle and lower-income Americans.
Half of Americans in households making less than $50,000 annually stated that price increases have substantially impacted their finances. A third of Americans living in households making more than $50,000 expressed similar sentiments.