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Financial Well-Being of U.S. Adults Improving

Doug Page
May 23, 2022

Hispanics and parents are doing the best.

Nearly 80% of U.S. adults report that they’re either doing “OK” or “living comfortably,” according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Board. It looked at the financial well-being of adults and their families during 2021’s fourth quarter.

Nearly one-fourth of all homeowners with a mortgage refinanced their loan in 2021. Around 30% of mortgage holders with an income of at least $100,000 and 16% of those with an income under $50,000 refinanced during the year, the report said.

Of note for the housing industry, the number of people working from home decreased. The results showed 22% of employees worked entirely from home, down from 29% in late 2020. Fifteen percent of workers said they were in a different job than 12 months earlier.

The report, “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2021,” surveyed 11,000 adults. It examines the financial lives of U.S. adults and their families and shows that 78% of adults reported they “were doing OK or living comfortably financially.”

The report that was released today draws from another report conducted by the Federal Reserve Board, called the “Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking,” which was conducted between October and November 2021.

“Financial well-being also increased among all the racial and ethnic groups measured in the survey with a particularly large increase among Hispanic adults,” the survey determined. “Parents were one group who reported large gains in financial well-being with three-fourths saying they were doing at least OK financially, up 8 percentage points from 2020.”

Sixty-eight percent of adults they would cover a $400 emergency expense exclusively using cash or its equivalent, up from 50% when the survey started in 2013.

Twelve percent of student loan borrowers were behind in their payments in 2021, a drop from 17% in 2019.

Seventy-three percent of those who went to college and have loans reported they were doing okay financially, up from 65 percent in 2019, the Federal Reserve Board said.

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