Half of Americans Rate Their Financial Situation Positively
Friday, May 27th, 2016
Fifty percent of Americans rate their personal financial situation as either "excellent" or "good," slightly higher than the 46% recorded last year and the highest level recorded since before the Great Recession.
These data come from Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted April 6-10. When Gallup began asking this question in 2001, Americans were a bit more likely to rate their financial situation positively, with slight majorities saying their situation was excellent or good in most polls from 2001 to 2007.
These ratings dropped during the recession, however, and remained low in the years that followed. In 2008, less than half described their situation positively, and a record-low 41% of Americans gave excellent or good ratings in 2010 and 2012. Americans' ratings began to improve in 2013. These data are similar to Gallup's findings in January that Americans are more likely to report being "better off" financially than they were in the year prior -- another measure in which Americans' assessments have recovered from the immediate post-recession years.
Americans More Likely Than in Post-Recession Years to Report Situation as Improving
Comparable to their views of their current financial situation, Americans' projections for the future of their finances have recovered from their fairly pessimistic lows during the recession and immediate post-recession years.
Currently, Americans are more likely to say their financial situation as a whole is "getting better" (47%) than to say it is "getting worse" (38%), the fifth consecutive year they have reported a net positive outlook. Positive outlook ratings for their finances are down, however, by five percentage points from last year's 52%, which was the first time since before the recession that this sentiment reached a majority level.
Americans were the most positive about their future finances in 2002, when 60% said their financial situation was improving. They were the least optimistic about future conditions in October 2011 (29%), following sharp declines in stock prices after the S&P downgraded the U.S. federal government's credit rating.
Americans' assessments of their current financial situation and their expectations for the future have recovered quite a bit from the recession and immediate post-recession years. But these ratings aren't as positive as they were at most points prior to the recession.
Meanwhile, just as many Americans rate their financial situation negatively as they do positively, and they are a bit less likely to view their finances as improving. This aligns with their muted confidence in the U.S. economy, which was a bit rosier in 2015 than it has been so far this year.