BACK

10'000 Hours / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Research and Statistics

Half of Americans say their finances are getting worse amid COVID-19

A Gallup poll conducted in April shows the pandemic has reversed a yearslong trend of financial optimism among U.S. adults

Summary

According to a new poll from Gallup, the share of Americans feeling optimistic about their financial situation has plunged dramatically as a result of the coronavirus crisis, while those with a negative outlook rose to a new high.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

After an 11-year climb out of the depths of the Great Recession, the share of Americans feeling optimistic about their financial situation plunged dramatically as a result of the coronavirus crisis, while those with a negative outlook rose to a new high.

The data come from Gallup’s latest annual installment of its Economy & Personal Finance Poll, which it has conducted every spring for the past two decades. One of the key questions it asks to measure Americans’ perception of financial well-being is whether they feel their overall financial situation is getting better or getting worse.

Generally, those feeling optimistic about the trend of their finances outnumber those who feel things are deteriorating. But in the wake of the financial crisis, the 2008 reading showed a stark reversal, with 49% of U.S. adults saying their financial situation was declining, and only 32% reporting it was improving.

See related: Poll: 23% of consumers added to their card debt in the pandemic

Every year since then, the share who see bad news in their personal finances has declined while those saying things are looking up has continued to rise. As a result, the 2019 data showed the largest gap in the poll’s more than 20-year history, with 57% saying their finances were getting better and only 27% saying things were getting worse.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, and the data for April 2020 show an almost exact copy of the 2008 reversal: U.S. adults feeling optimistic plunged from 57% down to 35%, while those saying their finances are getting worse skyrocketed to 50%.

The 50% reading on those feeling negative is the highest the poll has ever registered, beating 2008’s finding of 49%.

Gallup’s 2020 poll was conducted by phone from April 1-14 among a national sample of 1,017 U.S. adults age 18 or older. The results were released April 21.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Filing credit card disputes in the coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus crisis is expected to cause an outbreak of credit card chargebacks, as consumers seek refunds for canceled travel and events and other purchases. However, sometimes it’s better to resolve a disputed purchase with your merchant.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: July 8th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.48%
Cash Back
16.09%
Reward
15.82%
Student
16.12%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.