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  • Ryan Wittler

Americans’ Self-reported Financial Well-being Hit a Record High Closing Out 2021


A new report from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board shows Americans’ self-reported financial well-being at the end of last year reached its highest level since the Fed began tracking the measure in 2013.

Report highlights:

The report found a record 78% of U.S. adults reported doing either “okay” financially or “living comfortably” in the fourth quarter of 2021, the most since tracking began.

  • Reported financial well-being increased for all racial groups in the report, with a particularly large increase among Hispanic adults.

  • Parents also made large gains, with 75% reporting they were doing at least okay financially, up 8 percentage points from 2020.

The percentage of adults who reported they would be able to cover a $400 emergency expense with cash or cash equivalents also reached a record high of 68%, up from 50% in 2013.

The report draws on findings from the Fed’s ninth annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking.

  • The survey was conducted from October to November last year, before the spike in COVID cases due to the spread of the omicron variant.

  • It was also conducted amid rising inflation, as the Consumer Price Index hit 6.8% in November 2021, reaching its fastest year-over-year pace since 1982.

Why it matters:

The Fed says the survey helps it better understand the challenges facing American households, particularly during the pandemic recovery.

“Despite persistent concerns that people expressed about the national economy, the survey highlights the positive effects of the recovery on the individual financial circumstances of U.S. families,” the report states.

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