One-Quarter of US List Home Address as 'In the Poorhouse'
NEW YORK (BankingMyWay) -- In a sign of the times, 25% of Americans consider themselves "poor," while a similar percentage say they don't have a household budget.
So says a new survey out this week from CashNetUsa.com, a Chicago-based online consumer cash lender.
The survey found that one in four Americans considers themselves poor and while 48% say they loosely follow a budget, another 27% have no budget at all.
CashNet isn't exactly alone in citing the poor economic standing of Americans, although its results are higher than most other poverty studies.For example, a widely-cited University of Indiana study released in January, using U.S. Census Bureau data, noted that the number of U.S. citizens living in poverty rose 27% from 2006 to 2012, from 36.5 million to 46.2 million. Over 46 million -- as large a number as it is -- is not quite 25% of the U.S. population, which numbers approximately 314 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So why the even bleaker economic outlook from the CashNet survey? It could be the CashNet scale is heavily tilted toward younger Americans: U.S. citizens under 30 are far and away more likely to consider themselves "flat broke", as the CashNet study phrases it.
The survey also takes great pains to say that Americans are "under pressure to live from paycheck to paycheck" which, as painful as that is to millions of Americans, may not translate into long-term poverty. If the adult in question finds a new job, or at least a better paying-job, it makes his or her stay at the poverty level a temporary one. Regionally, the CashNet survey reports that residents of the upper-Midwestern states are suffering the most economically, with 32% of adults who consider themselves poor. In the U.S. Northeast, that number drops to 20%, while the South (25%) and West (23%) drift somewhere in the middle. Another interesting metric from the CashNet study is the fact that Americans who do consider themselves poor are fully engaged in their economic situation -- they know how much money they have in the bank, their debt levels, and they know their monthly expenses. That suggests they believe their situation, while damaging psychologically as well as financially, hasn't caused them to "check out" -- they're still fighting to climb out of the economic morass. "The survey found that those in financial trouble have a good handle on their monthly balances and know when they need help," says Keith Weinberger, director of marketing at CashNet.com. It's not a pretty picture, but according to CashNet, even Americans struggling at poverty levels seem to have not given up hope. The U.S. economy has historically been a resilient one, and Americans of all economic stripes seem to be counting on that. So, to millions of Americans down on their luck financially, the fire still burns, and to them it's not a matter of "if" the economy recovers and they exit the poorhouse, but "when."
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