Feeling Their Finances
Americans may be pretty down about the state of the nation's economy, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds their assessment of their own finances to be substantially less dire: More than six in 10 now say they feel at least somewhat financially secure, even as many have anxiety about their situations.
Q. All in all, how financially secure do you feel?
63% secure; 36% insecure
SOURCE: Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted by telephone July 10-13, 2008 among a random national sample of 1,119 adults. Results have a three point error margin.
Nevertheless, a broad majority finds their finances to be a cause of stress in their life, with nearly a quarter saying their wallets were a "major" source of tension. And those feeling the least secure are the most on edge: Six in 10 of those with the lowest level of security called money a major source of stress.
Women are among those most likely to feel the pinch, as they are less apt than men to feel secure about their finances (57 to 69 percent). Married men are among the most secure, 32 percent reported high levels of security, while only about one in six women (regardless of marital status) or unmarried men expressed the same sense of safety.
Moreover, nearly three in 10 women in the new poll call money a major cause of stress in their lives, compared with 18 percent of men who said so. Among women who are feeling financially insecure, 53 percent called money a major cause of stress, just a third of similarly situated men said so about their lives. A third of single women and a quarter of married women consider their finances a prominent cause of stress. Black women in particular are focused on it: 45 percent feel deeply stressed on account of their money.
Financial security rises with income, a third of those with annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher said they feel "very secure," but less than half as many from households earning under $50,000 feel the same. Stress levels tread the opposite path, just 9 percent of high income households feel heavy stress because of their financial situation; 37 percent in the lowest category do.
Regionally, residents of the Midwest expressed the least security, with about two in 10 saying they feel very insecure. About one in 10 in the East and West felt the same, around one in six in the South. Urbanites reported feeling the pinch more acutely than their suburban and rural neighbors; 42 percent of city dwellers said they feel insecure, 35 percent in suburban and rural locales felt the same. But at the same time, more in urban and suburban areas have reached a high level of security, with about one in five in each saying they feel the highest level of security, 16 percent of rural residents said the same.
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