The findings are based on an online poll of nearly 2,000 adults conducted by The Harris Poll from November 11 to November 13, in advance of a U.S. News forum and webinar series on the state of financial and health equity in America. They were launched during a midterm election season rife with debate over inflation and abortion rights, and during which Democrats maintained their Senate majority while losing control of the House of Representatives by a narrow margin.
According to the poll findings, 86% of U.S. adults are either extremely or somewhat anxious about the economy and inflation, which is shared by 88% of whites and 81% of persons of colour. Similarly, 85% of whites and 78% of persons of colour expressed anxiety about a probable economic downturn in the United States.
Though only a few findings were statistically significant, the survey revealed narrow demographic differences in financial stress at a time when inflation has skyrocketed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While 71% of U.S. adults were concerned about their ability to pay for living expenses, 69% of whites were concerned, compared to 73% of people of colour and 74% of Hispanics. 77% of women of colour and 85% of low-income women were similarly concerned about the problem.
Concerns about employment were found to be similar, with 51% of women of colour reporting concern about losing their job, compared to 45% of white respondents, 48% of people of colour overall, 50% of Black or African American respondents, and 56% of Hispanic respondents.
In addition, 43% of people of colour reported seeking new or additional sources of income as a result of rising inflation, compared to 39% of white Americans, and 40% of people of colour reported providing financial support to a family member, compared to 30% of whites.
According to The Harris Poll, using a 95% confidence level, the survey’s sample data is accurate to within 2.9 percentage points, with this credible interval wider among subsets of the surveyed population.
During the U.S. News equity forum on Nov. 16 in New York City, Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema stated that while recent polling revealed that white Americans were more likely to express concerns about the U.S. economy on a macro level, people of colour were more likely to express concern about its impact on a micro level.