One in four Americans considers themselves poor, with people under age 30 and those living in the North Central U.S. feeling the most downcast. Those opinions were gleaned from an online poll of 1,000 Americans conducted in February by online lender CashNetUSA.com and TNS.
According to the first-ever survey, 69% do not believe they are poor, with 6% undecided or unwilling to admit it.
Broken down by age group, 32% of those under age 30 say they are poor versus 14% of those between the ages of 50 and 59.
Regionally, 32% of people residing in the North Central part of the country classify themselves as poor, followed by the South (25%), West (23%) and the Northeast (20%).
In a video discussing the survey’s findings, Keith Weinberger, director of marketing at Chicago-based CashNetUSA.com, said it indicates that Americans “are having significant difficulty in this economy.”
Yet despite the pessimistic view of their finances, most Americans are well aware of what they bring in and spend every month. About half‑47%‑say they know the exact amount stashed in their checking or savings accounts, while 48% have a “rough idea.” Only 5% say they do not know.
When it comes to spending, 36% say they can calculate the “exact amount” and 58% have a “rough idea” of what they pay out each month. Six percent say they have “no idea.” Those results were nearly identical for both men and women.
And most Americans do follow a spending plan, according to the survey. Nearly half (48%) say they “loosely” follow a budget while another 25% reveal they “strictly” adhere to one. Only 27% say they have no budget at all. Factors such as children in the home, geographic area and age appear to have little impact on whether an individual follows a budget; however, household income does. Thirty-six percent of those with an annual income under $30,000 faithfully follow a budget compared to just 18% of those making $75,000 or more a year.
Such findings indicate that “those in financial trouble have a good handle on their monthly balances and know when they need help,” stated Weinberger is a release detailing the study.