Edison Research, Marketplace Create Economic Anxiety Index
October 26, 2015 at 3:03 PM (PT)
A new poll from EDISON RESEARCH and MARKETPLACE found that despite the continued improvement in the U.S. economy, there’s still discontent among many Americans about their personal economic situations. The results of that poll were developed into the first-ever MARKETPLACE-EDISON RESEARCH Economic Anxiety Index.
Of the more-than-1,000 Americans surveyed:
• More than one in four people are losing sleep over their current financial situation.
• 63% said they are sometimes or frequently anxious about their financial situation.
• 42% said they feel stuck in their current financial situation.
• Almost 40% who have student loans don’t think those loans were worth it.
“The results of this poll show an interesting dynamic,” MARKETPLACE VP/Exec. Producer DEBORAH CLARK said. “Data tell us that our economy is growing stronger every month, yet people feel like they’re continuing to struggle. People are losing sleep over worries about advancing their careers, finding work if they lose their jobs, paying the mortgage and making rent.”
“We at EDISON RESEARCH are proud to partner with MARKETPLACE on this unique inquiry into the economic and financial state of mind of the American public,” EDISON RESEARCH Pres. LARRY ROSIN said. “We worked together to find the answers to questions that have not been asked before and the results are enlightening.”
The Economic Anxiety Index, a scale from 0 to 100, was developed from the responses to poll questions about respondents’ own financial situations, their fears about job security, and their concerns about meeting their expenses. The higher the number, the more economic stress someone is feeling. The Economic Anxiety Index mean score across all demographics is 31, though it varies widely among subgroups.
For instance, among hourly workers, 32% say their financial situation causes lost sleep, compared to 17% among those who are paid a salary. Similarly, 43% of hourly workers feel stuck, while only 21% of salaried workers report feeling that way. Hourly workers have a mean Anxiety Index of 39, compared to 26 for salaried workers.
“This Anxiety Index confirmed something that we’ve seen in our reporting over the years: The economy is personal,” CLARK said. “No matter what the jobs reports, housing index or other indicators say, the numbers that matter most are those that hit closest to home. As the election nears and we conduct additional polling, it will be interesting to see how these Anxiety Index numbers correlate with Americans’ political choices.”
In spite of the deep anxiety felt by Americans across demographic groups, there remains a sense of optimism -– that hard work is more important than luck in getting ahead and that the American Dream is still attainable. In fact, 72% of respondents believe that they have a fair opportunity to achieve the life they hope for.