It’s been a decade since the latest Great Depression officially ended for the United States. As a country, the US seems to have gained a lot in the last decade in terms of finances and economics; however, the latest survey reveals that this economic gain did not translate into individual and family lives for most Americans. In fact, many Americans believe that the situation may have gotten worse for their family in this decade.
BankRate.com is a popular personal finance website that conducted the said survey and, according to a senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick associated with the website, tens of millions of Americans are still struggling to “get back to where they were before the economy took a turn for the worse”. Over 2,700 adult Americans took part in the online survey that was conducted in May of this year.
Over half of the citizens who were adults at the time when the depression hit the country said that they faced serious negative financial implications and half of the surveyed people told BankRate that they are in a worse financial situation than they were before the depression. Only 46% of adults saw a rise in their paycheck if compared with what they were earning before the recession.
An interesting stat is regarding the median family income that saw a slight increase during the last two decades. After adjusting for the inflation, the median family income grew from $58,544 in 2000 to $59,039 in 2016. Meanwhile, the cost of living, medical, college and childcare increased massively during the same period.
Interestingly, the situation is quite different if we analyze the macroeconomic scenario of the United States. At the peak of the depression, the unemployment rate reached 10% while the same rate is just 3.6% today. Similarly, Gross Domestic Product saw a 2.6% increase during the last quarter of the previous year in contrast with a 4.3% decline during the depression.
Hamrick believes that the extent to which an individual may or may not have recovered might largely depend on the State in which the individual lives, the sector in which he works and the severity of the impact of the depression. For example, more women (27%) than the men (19%) have seen their financial situation getting worse and it may partially be associated with bias against women at workplaces, such as lesser opportunities and lower pay as compared to men.