Economic Pinch Hits the Gulf Coast Hardest

Highlights Oct.03,2022 21:32

Nearly half of households in Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas are finding it at least somewhat difficult to cover their expenses, according to Census data.

The data is in, and it’s not encouraging: More Americans are feeling financially strapped.

The of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Surveys estimates that 40% of Americans are finding it somewhat or very difficult to pay for household expenses, marking a 13 percentage point increase from a year ago, and an 8-point increase from February.

The Bureau published the latest iteration of the survey, designed to measure household experiences during the pandemic, on Aug. 17, including data through Aug. 8. The survey asks if Americans have experienced difficulty paying for household expenses, including but not limited to food, housing costs, car payments and medical expenses, in the last seven days.

Some states are finding their populations more impacted by these difficulties, particularly in the Gulf Coast region. The survey estimates that nearly half of households in (49.2%), (47.8%), (47.8%), (47.3%) and (47.0%) are finding it at least somewhat difficult to cover their expenses.

On the other hand, had the lowest percentage fitting this description at 25.9%, more than 5 percentage points lower than any other state. (31.3%), (31.6%), (33.1%) and (33.3%) also had fewer than one in three households experiencing these hardships.

The data reflects a larger picture of concerning trends in the cost of living around the country, as inflation has risen dramatically since early 2021. In August, rising food and housing costs drove an in the consumer price index. In mid-September, the Federal Reserve in an effort to control rising inflation.

Nationwide, Hispanic Americans of all races (50.7%) and Black Americans (51.7%) are more likely to find it at least somewhat difficult to cover household expenses than white Americans (35.6%) and Asian Americans (25.5%). Other marginalized groups, including the trans population (55.5%), also feel these effects particularly strongly.

According to analysis from household expenses have changed profoundly over recent decades, with rising costs in housing, health care and education responsible for the largest increases in household expenditures from 1993 to 2020. Recent data released by the Census Bureau showed a in household rent from 2019 to 2021.