The Bureau released the first results from the Making Ends Meet survey today. The results provide a deeper understanding of how often U.S. consumers have difficulty making ends meet and how they cope with financial shortfalls.
Key results from the survey
- Among survey respondents, 52 percent reported they could cover expenses for two months or less if they lost their main source of income. Respondents were asked to consider all available sources of funds including borrowing, using savings, selling assets, and seeking help from family or friends. Twenty percent could cover expenses for two weeks or less.
- In May 2019, 40 percent of U.S. consumers reported that they had difficulty paying a bill or expense in the previous year.
- Households that suffered a period of unemployment, reduced work hours, or an inability to work because of illness were nearly twice as likely to report having difficulty paying a bill or expense than households that had not experienced these events.
- When asked how they handled a difficulty paying a bill or expense, half of respondents said they borrowed, either formally or informally. Half also reported cutting back on other expenses.
- When a respondent had difficulty paying for one bill or expense, she or he was often also unable to pay for other necessities such as food, utilities, rent, or the mortgage.
The survey is weighted to be nationally representative of consumers with a credit record. The survey is part of the Bureau’s statutory mission to conduct research on markets for consumer financial products and services, the experiences and access to credit for traditionally underserved communities, and consumer understanding and choice of products, among other things.