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Research and Statistics

Most Americans worried about paying bills during coronavirus crisis: survey

A mid-March poll found 63% of U.S. adults were worried about meeting their monthly obligations due to COVID-19 impacts

Summary

In one of the earliest survey measures of how concerned Americans are about making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic, more than 6 in 10 U.S. adults say they are worried.

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In one of the earliest survey measures of how concerned Americans are about making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic, more than 6 in 10 U.S. adults say they are worried.

Fortune and SurveyMonkey polled more than 2,000 Americans in mid-March and the results show that a majority of almost every demographic slice – from age and gender to race, income and education level – were concerned they wouldn’t have enough money to pay their monthly bills.

Overall, 63% of U.S. adults are worried about meeting their monthly obligations due to COVID-19 impacts. Women are collectively more concerned, with 71% reporting they are worried versus 54% of men.

Americans ages 35-44 are the most anxious about how they’ll pay their bills in the coming months, with 74% expressing concern. Younger age groups also surpassed 70% (71% for ages 25-34 and 70% for 18-24), while adults 65 and up were the only age group with less than a majority (43%) concerned about monthly bills.

Segmented on race, 54% of white adults said they are worried, compared to much higher shares of concerned black Americans (74%) and Hispanics (81%). Almost half of Hispanics (49%) said they are “very worried.”

See related: Credit card issuers offer cardholders relief amid coronavirus outbreak

Not surprisingly, those with lower education levels and incomes were more concerned than higher-paid college graduates. Eighty percent (80%) of Americans with an income below $50,000 are worried they won’t be able to pay their bills, while the number drops to 60% for those earning $50,000 to $99,999, and 39% for those with incomes of $100,000 or more.

And more than two-thirds of those without a college degree (68%) are concerned, compared to 50% of college graduates.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported in mid-April that about 22 million Americans had filed for unemployment over a four-week period.

Fortune’s SurveyMonkey poll was conducted online from March 16-17 among a national sample of 2,960 U.S. adults. The results were weighted to U.S. Census demographics and released in late March.

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