Poll: Half of Americans Say They're Worse Off Than a Year Ago

The last time this many Americans said they're worse off was during the Great Recession

A woman shops in a supermarket as rising inflation affects consumer prices in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
February 9, 2023

Fifty percent of all Americans say they're financially worse off than they were a year ago, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

This kind of negative response is rare, Gallup noted, having asked the question since 1976. The last time so many Americans said they were worse off was during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009.

By contrast, only 35 percent said they're better off this year—a result suggestive of "challenging economic times," the pollster noted.

The findings "follow a year of persistent high inflation" under President Joe Biden, with "the highest inflation rates since 1982." Inflation under Biden has soared to unprecedented levels, with egg prices skyrocketing 60 percent and experts widely expecting a stock market collapse.

Biden has attempted to put a happy face on economic fears, claiming during his Tuesday State of the Union address that inflation is "coming down."

While all income groups say they're worse off, low-income Americans say the weak economy has hit them particularly hard. Sixty-one percent of low-income respondents told Gallup they're worse off than a year ago. They may find their situation worsening in the year ahead: The IRS, which has received $80 billion in new funding thanks to Biden, is five times more likely to audit poorer Americans, the Washington Free Beacon has reported.