Marketplace Economic Anxiety Index Stays Steady as
Americans Worry about Their Finances
LOS ANGELES, March 14, 2016— Americans are still feeling anxious about the economy despite the addition of more than a million jobs and other improvements since last fall, according to the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll. Notably new in the poll’s findings is that a large number of Americans don’t feel they have someone or a network they could turn to if they needed help paying an unexpected bill. The poll also found that people are using savings from lower gas prices to help keep them from falling behind on monthly expenses.
• Over half of the poll respondents say they would have difficulty paying an unexpected $1,000 bill. African-American respondents are more likely to report it would be “very difficult” to deal with an unexpected expense, and they are less likely to have someone to turn to for help.
• More than a quarter of respondents say the lower gas prices are helping their personal financial situations “a lot.”
Updated Comparative Findings
Compared to the last Marketplace-Edison Research Poll published in October 2015, there was little change in respondents’ answers in terms of their financial security and current financial situations. Given that consistency, the Marketplace Economic Anxiety Index – a measure of the financial stress people are feeling – remained steady at 31 on a scale from 0 to 100. Parsing the score by different demographic groups:
• Those identifying as African-American (39) or Hispanic (37) had higher-than-average scores on the Anxiety Index.
• People ages 35 to 54 had higher anxiety scores than other age groups.
• Democrats show more financial anxiety (33) than Republicans (28)
Nowhere to turn. Several questions asked Americans how well they were positioned to withstand surprise bills. Over half said they would have difficulty paying an unexpected $1,000 expense. About half of those who said it would be very or somewhat difficult to cope with that expense also said they did not have a friend or family member they could turn to for help. Demographically, African-American respondents were more likely to say in our poll that it would be “very difficult” to deal with an unexpected bill, and they are less likely to have someone to turn to for help.
Are lower gas prices having a big impact on people’s finances? More than a quarter of respondents said lower gas prices are helping their personal financial situations “a lot.” The money saved on gas is having the largest impact on those most in need, with those fearful of missing mortgage or rent payment more likely to say gas prices had helped “a lot.”
Marketplace-Edison Research Poll Methodology
The Marketplace Edison Research Survey is a national survey of Americans ages 18 years and older. A total of 1,012 respondents were interviewed with 501 interviews conducted by telephone and 512 interviews conducted online. Among the telephone interviews, 300 were conducted via a landline phone and 201 interviews conducted via a cell phone so that we could achieve the proper proportion of coverage of households in the United States that do not have a landline phone. The landline and cell phone sample of phone numbers and the email addresses for the online survey were provided by Survey Sampling International (SSI).
The average length of the telephone interviews was fourteen minutes. The telephone interviews were conducted from February 8th to 17th, 2016.
The data was weighted to match the most recent United States population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for age, gender, race and region of the country.
With a total sample size of 1,012 respondents, the calculated margin of error with a 95% confidence interval for results among the entire sample is +/- 3%. The calculated margins of error for results among smaller sub-groups are higher.
The February wave of data is tracked with a previous wave, conducted September 8th to 18th, 2015, in which a total of 1,016 respondents were interviewed (501 conducted by telephone, 515 conducted online). The calculated margin of error for the September wave of data is also
+/- 3% among the entire sample.
About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Gulf News, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Time Warner and Yahoo. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. All of Edison Research’s industry studies can be found on the company’s website at www.edisonresearch.com and can be downloaded free of charge.
Marketplace® is produced and distributed by American Public Media™ (APM), one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world with a portfolio reaching 19 million listeners via nearly 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. Produced in association with the University of Southern California, Marketplace® programs (Marketplace, Marketplace Weekend, Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Tech) are currently broadcast by nearly 800 public radio stations nationwide and heard by more than 12 million weekly listeners and Marketplace, the weekday evening program, is the largest business news program, on radio or TV, in the country. Marketplace’s digital audience is also robust, with more than 5 million podcast downloads and stream requests every month, on apps like iTunes, Slacker and TuneIn. Marketplace programs are noted for their timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economic and personal finance focusing on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy and wider events linked to the financial markets. For more information on Marketplace visit marketplace.org. Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio and StreamGuys. Data are estimates only.