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Fed Report Finds Three-Quarters of Americans Are Comfortable with Finances Despite Pandemic Pressures

  • Federal Reserve finds that the majority of Americans maintain comfortable finances during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • However, the share of Americans reporting that they were worse off financially also reached its highest point since the survey began
  • The Fed also found persistent disparities based on race and education level

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Federal Reserve’s latest survey on the financial health of American households found that most adults remained economically stable during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the report also noted persistent disparities related to education and race.

In the Fed’s “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020,” 75 percent described their finances as OK or said they were living comfortably, on par with 2019 levels after fluctuations during the year. About one in four respondents in the fourth quarter of 2020 said they were worse off financially compared to a year earlier, and a larger share of adults said they were worse off in 2020 than in any previous year of the survey

  • Eighty percent of those with a bachelor’s degree maintained comfortable finances during the pandemic, compared to just 45 percent of those with a high school degree
  • Eighty-four percent of Asian-American and 80 percent of White respondents were financially stable, while less than two-thirds of Black and Hispanic respondents maintained comfortable finances
  • The Fed identified another disparity in pandemic-related layoffs, noting that they were concentrated on workers who already had a minimal financial cushion and fewer financial resources
  •  Thirteen percent of parents were working less and 9 percent had stopped working due to disruptions to child care or schooling
  • The survey was issued in November and collected 11,000 responses

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