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Share Of U.S. Workers Living Paycheck To Paycheck Continues Decline From Recession-Era Peak, Finds Annual CareerBuilder Survey

Stocks in this article: GCI MNI

Most Valued ExpensesNearly half of workers (49 percent) have cut back on leisure activities and more than a third stopped eating out (36 percent) or drove less (34 percent) to help balance budgets in the last year. But despite attempts to save more and spend less, there are several expenses that some workers say they will not give up regardless of financial concerns:

  • Internet connection: 55 percent
  • Driving: 40 percent
  • Pet: 36 percent
  • Smart phone: 29 percent
  • Cable: 24 percent
  • Travel: 10 percent
  • Going out to eat: 9 percent

Smart phones switched places with cable from last year's rankings, which may suggest media preferences are changing and always-on work schedules may be gaining prominence among workers.

Paycheck to Paycheck by Gender, Age and Salary

The percentage of those living paycheck to paycheck varies by segment and demographics:

Gender: Consistent with past studies, women are more likely than men to report living paycheck to paycheck, but the gap appears to be widening despite declines for both genders. Forty-one percent of women and 31 percent of men always or usually live paycheck to paycheck, down from 44 and 36 percent in 2012, respectively.

Age: Compared to other age groups, workers closer to retirement (55+) are least likely to report living paycheck to paycheck.   

  • 25-34 – 37 percent
  • 35-44 – 37 percent
  • 45-54 – 39 percent
  • 55+ – 32 percent

Salary: The likelihood of living paycheck to paycheck naturally decreases for respondents with higher salaries. Eleven percent of workers making $100,000 or more usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, down from 12 percent last year and 17 percent in 2010. Thirty-one percent of workers making $50,000-$99,999 and 53 percent of those making less than $50,000 usually or always live paycheck to paycheck.  



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