By Howard Schneider
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – High inflation has made it harder to pay bills, spoiled retirement plans and prompted people to limit travel and monitor thermostats.
It turns out that it also scares them in a broad and often intense way according to new US Household Survey data that is starting to include more questions about price hikes.
According to the most recent Census Household Pulse Survey, about 65% of adults in the United States find price hikes to be either “severe” or “moderate.”
The pressure on price increases was slightly higher for Hispanic and black adults. It was lower among those with a college degree, at about 54%, and may not have varied surprisingly by income. More than 80% of those earning less than $50,000 per year have found current inflation to be stressful; It was less than 38% for those earning more than $200,000.
Graph: Pressure on it due to inflation accompanied by inflation – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-FED/INFLATION/lgpdwrxqovo/chart.png
The Census Bureau began the Household Pulse Survey early in the pandemic to try to monitor rapidly changing health, social and economic trends in near real time, with data being collected and released with greater frequency than other population estimates. The questions have changed over time based on emerging trends such as working from home.
In recent publications, an increase in food insecurity has been documented as income support programs end in the pandemic period, with the latest survey showing that 11.5% of adults live in households where there is “sometimes or often” insufficient food, up from a low . Less than 8% in mid-2021 when pandemic income support programs were still in place.
Since inflation started picking up last year, it has shown that the proportion of adults in households where it was somewhat difficult to meet the usual expenditures to 40% from about 26% in the middle of last year.
Chart: Problem paying bills – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-FED/INFLATION/lbvgnqwybpq/chart.png
The most recent survey, conducted September 14-26 and included responses from nearly 51,000 households, attempted to dig deeper into how inflation affects the mood and behavior of the public.
It’s a matter of interest to the US Federal Reserve as it tries to assess the financial resilience of families, and the elected officials competing in the midterm elections.
With overall consumer prices rising more than 8% annually as of August, the census survey showed that this affects spending patterns as well as psychology.
About 35% of adults said they canceled a trip in the previous week due to the cost of gas, while about 20% said they reduced or canceled spending on “basic household necessities, such as medicine or food” in order to pay. energy bill.