In a recent survey, 56% of Americans reported that they have less than $1,000 to their names. This includes all the money they have in both their savings and checking accounts combined.
According to Forbes, almost a quarter of Americans have less than $100, while 38% said they would pay less than their full credit card balance this month, and 11% said they would only make the minimum payment, meaning they will, at best, spend years trapped in potentially crippling debt.
The average American is steeped in credit card debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and a single accident away from complete financial ruin.
This illustrates that while the economy at large has somewhat recovered from the Great Recession, these gains are not trickling down to the majority and bolstering lives at the local level. According to another study, just 65 of the 3,069 counties have recovered from 2008’s near economic collapse. The vast majority of America has not, in fact, recovered.
The poverty of most Americans is also the result of decades of wage stagnation. Many Americans’ pay has not been augmented to keep pace with inflation. The current minimum wage is essentially a policy relic and has ensured that many working Americans were left further and further behind as the years passed.