Forty percent of U.S. adults struggle to make ends meet, according to a survey from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Conducted in 2016, the bureau’s National Financial Well-Being Survey scored respondents’ financial well-being on a scale of 0 to 100, with the average consumer score being 54.
Of the nationally representative sample of consumers surveyed, 43 percent of consumers report struggling to pay bills. Additionally, over one third—34 percent—of all consumers surveyed reported experiencing material hardships in the past year.
Educational attainment, income, and employment status all appear to have a strong relationship with financial well-being. Additionally, the survey showed that financial well-being is higher for older adults, especially those aged 65 and older, whose average score was 61. On the other end of the spectrum, younger adults, those 34 and younger, tended to have the lowest financial well-being score with an average of 51.
“These survey results are beginning to measure and examine the financial well-being of consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “And the new tool we are releasing allows consumers to measure their own financial well-being and helps them take better control of their financial futures.”
Using the 10 question scale developed by the CFPB, the survey provides the first-ever national data directly measuring the financial well-being of U.S. consumers. The consumer sample used to conduct the survey was designed to be representative of U.S. households.
In addition to responding to the questions which are included in the financial well-being scale, people participating in the survey answered questions about a host of other measures. These measures include individual, household, and family characteristics; income and employment; savings and safety nets; financial experiences; and money behaviors, skills, and attitudes.
The CFPB also released an interactive online tool to enable people to evaluate their own financial well-being.