One-third of Americans report financial stress in a census

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(Bloomberg) – More than one-third of Americans surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau have found it difficult to pay their bills, which shows how much consumer price increases have affected the budget.

Respondents say it was somewhat or very difficult to meet the cost of ordinary households now near the peak of 2020 at the worst of the Covid-19 epidemic.

In cities including Los Angeles and Miami, more than 4 out of 10 households reported financial stress, according to the Family Pulse Survey for the April 27-May 9 period.

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The Census Bureau created weekly surveys at the onset of the epidemic to collect real-time data on how human lives have been affected by Covid.

As in other parts of the world, inflation has reached decades of highs in recent months, making everything from gasoline to chicken, eggs, milk and housing more expensive. Wages were not kept.

The study shows a sharp rise in financial pressure in the country’s largest metropolitan area. In Dallas, for example, respondents’ difficulty paying bills increased from 23% last August to about 37%.

The family’s woes are likely to worsen in the coming weeks as food prices continue to rise, interest rates rise and the economy is forced to slow down.

High energy bills are also making many families heavier and are likely to get worse in the summer, when air conditioning is needed to combat high temperatures in large parts of the country.

In the latest survey, more than a quarter of Los Angeles households say they have not been able to pay their full energy bills in the past year. In Miami, that share was over 20%.

© 2022 Bloomberg LP

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