You’ve heard it before. A lot.
Living paycheck to paycheck is a problem. One that’s been around for as long as humans have needed money to survive and one that won’t go away anytime soon.
And if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you know how hard it is to find the latest statistics on your situation.
You’d love to know just how many people are in the same boat as you, but it seems like no one’s talking about it. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!
We’ve compiled a list of statistics that will help you understand just how many people are living paycheck to paycheck, as well as what they’re struggling with and what they hope will change in the future.
We hope this information helps ease your pain and gives you some new perspectives on your situation.
Living Paycheck to Paycheck Statistics in the US and Canada
1. 60.8% of Americans lived paycheck-to-paycheck in June 2022
A leading lending company in America, the Lending Club, conducted a survey to determine how significantly the trend of living paycheck to paycheck is growing.
According to the report entitled “Reality Check: Paycheck-to-paycheck,” the number of consumers living from one wage payment to the next increased to 64% in January 2022. This was a 3% increase from December 2021.
The data also showed around 48% of consumers earning more than $100,000 per year were also struggling to make ends meet from one month to the next. This number represented a 6% increase from the data collected in December 2021. It’s also significantly more than the rate of high earners living paycheck-to-paycheck in May 2021 (39%).
The share of people earning between $50,000 and $100,000 without any additional cash from their wages was also found to be rising. In May 2021, 53% of these earners lived paycheck to paycheck. However, in January 2022, this number increased to 67%.
|Date||Number of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck||% of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck|
|June 2022||200.34 million||60.8|
|May 2022||190.12 million||57.7|
|April 2022||201.98 million||61.3|
|March 2022||212.20 million||64.4|
|February 2022||204.29 million||62|
|January 2022||209.56 million||63.6|
|December 2021||200.67 million||60.9|
|November 2021||212.20 million||64.4|
|October 2021||185.51 million||56.3|
|September 2021||186.83 million||56.7|
|July 2021||178.59 million||54.2|
|June 2021||181.55 million||55.1|
|May 2021||177.93 million||54|
|April 2021||171.34 million||52|
|March 2021||183.20 million||55.6|
|February 2021||204.62 million||62.1|
|January 2021||199.02 million||60.4|
|December 2020||214.18 million||65|
2. As many as 7 in 10 Americans believe that they live paycheck to paycheck
A study commissioned by Highland Solutions into 2,007 adults found that 7 in 10 Americans believed they were living from paycheck to paycheck. The report also revealed around 63% of the respondents couldn’t see themselves ever achieving their desired level of financial security.
According to the report, lack of information about financial education and inability to access resources were significantly to blame for this issue. This was particularly true for women. 85% of women said they didn’t have access to the right resources for financial independence, compared to 65% of men.
Respondents also differed in what they considered to be important for financial security. 79% of Americans earning more than $150,000 per year considered a savings account to be particularly important. However, only 54% of people with an income of between $60,000 and $89,999 felt the same way.
3. The number of people living paycheck to paycheck declined during the pandemic
(American Payroll Association)
According to a report by the American Payroll Association, around 69% of individuals throughout America would struggle to pay their bills if their wages were delayed by a week. This was a slight decrease from the 74% of respondents living paycheck to paycheck who felt the same way in the survey conducted in 2019.
The researchers behind the report suggested the pandemic had prompted a lot of consumers to be more cautious with their spending habits. This could mean consumers started saving more money for emergencies during the year 2020.
4. 60% of LGBTQIA+ people live paycheck to paycheck
A study conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education into the financial circumstances of people in the LGBTQIA+ community found around 30% of these individuals experience bias, exclusion, or discrimination in the financial services sector.
The report also found around 39% of respondents considered their financial health to be worse than expected, and 60% were living paycheck to paycheck.
Notably, among the people surveyed, nearly 40% said they were discouraged to seek help as a result of how financial services were offered or marketed.
5. 53% of Canadians live paycheck to paycheck
(BDO Canada Affordability Index)
The annual BDO Canada Affordability Index published in 2019 found financial stability has become a significant issue for many households in Canada.
Over half of the respondents in the survey (53%) said they were living from paycheck to paycheck. A further 27% of the consumers said they don’t have enough money to pay for their daily needs.
In the report, the respondents also noted their debt load is becoming difficult to manage. 25% said their debt is overwhelming, and 57% said they’re carrying significant credit card debt. Around 31% said the size of their debt is increasing.
Living Paycheck to Paycheck Statistics in the UK
6. 70% of UK workers say they’re “chronically broke”
(Royal Society of Arts)
The RSA/Populus survey, “Thriving, striving, or just about surviving” looked at the financial status of approximately 2,000 workers in the United Kingdom.
According to the study, around 30% of respondents said they were living comfortably on their wages. A further 70% said they were either constantly struggling with money (40%) or not managing to pay all of their bills (30%).
According to the report, the majority of British workers are living from paycheck to paycheck, with 32% saying they have less than £500 in savings and 41% struggling with less than £1,000. Another 30% said they were concerned about their debts.
Notably, 43% of the employees in the survey said they also didn’t have anyone else in their home or family who could support them financially in the event of an emergency.
7. 48% of Brits spend all of their wages each month
A study conducted by the Lowell Debt Management Company into the spending habits of Brits following payday revealed interesting results. According to the report, 48% of Brits spend all of their monthly wages before they’re paid again.
Around 39% said they spent all of their wage within the first week of getting it. Another 10% said they spend as much as 60% of their income within the first week of receiving it.
Lowell’s study also revealed that around 24% of Brits don’t put any of their wages into a savings account or emergency fund. 48% of the respondents said they depend on credit at least once a year to manage expenses, while 13% access credit every month.
8. Leeds is the city in the UK where people spend wages the fastest
The report conducted by the Lowell Debt Management company into the spending habits of UK citizens revealed some locations are worse for living paycheck to paycheck than others.
According to the report, 51% of people living in Leeds spend all of their wages within the first week of payday. The city with the second fastest spending rate was Norwich, where 49% of respondents spend all of their earnings immediately, followed by Glasgow (48%), Yorkshire (47%), and Liverpool (46%).
Out of all UK cities, Brighton spent the least immediately, with only 39% saying they had spent their wage within a week of getting it.
9. 45% of UK households are only 1 paycheck away from homelessness
Charitable organization Shelter and YouGov conducted a study into the finances of more than 8,000 UK adults in 2019. According to the survey, around 45% of homeowners wouldn’t be able to pay the costs of living in their property if they lost just one wage.
The report found the situation was particularly problematic for working families with children. Around 60% of all renting families said they were just one paycheck away from potentially losing their home. A potential job loss would also render more of half of these families unable to pay for their private rent costs.
This survey went on to reveal around 63% of private renting households have no savings at all. What’s more, they generally spend up to 41% of their income on renting costs.
The Results of Living Paycheck to Paycheck
10. People living paycheck to paycheck are up to 5% happier
While not having any savings for emergencies can be a dangerous thing, a survey from Happy Money found most people who spend their earnings rapidly are a lot happier. The report looked at the happiness ratings of people with different spending habits.
According to the report, people living from one paycheck to the next were about 5% happier than their counterparts with savings. These individuals also noted they feel up to a 2% higher level of happiness when making purchases that would help them to save time.
11. Only 24% of consumers earning more than $250,000 had no issues paying bills in April 2022
The PYMENTS report on inflation and spending habits found only a very small portion of consumers had no problems paying their bills when living paycheck to paycheck.
In April 2022, 24% of those earning more than 250,000 were comfortable paying their bills. Around 36% of consumers earning $100,000 to $150,000 per year were able to pay their bills each month.
Among those earning $150-200k, the percentage of people comfortable paying their bills was 21%, and among people earning $200-$250k it was 26%.
12. People with lower incomes are more likely to revolve credit card balances
PYMENTS’ study into spending habits when living paycheck-to-paycheck found people with lower incomes were more likely to revolve their credit card balances and manage their debts. According to the report, consumers earning less than $50k per year always or usually revolved their credit card balances 35.7% of the time.
However, only 18.6% of people earning more than $250k per year said they manage their credit card balances. A massive 62.8% said they never do anything to revolve their credit.
At the same time, lower earners also use less of their credit card spending limits. The average earner receiving less than $50k per year said they left about 58% of their credit limit unused. Alternatively, people earning more than $250k per year left only 55.6% of their credit unused.
How Income and Generation Influences Living Paycheck to Paycheck
13. 36% of consumers earning more than $250k per year live paycheck to paycheck
In collaboration with the Lending Club, the PYMENTS company conducted a study into the number of people living paycheck to paycheck in the United States. According to the report, around 61% of consumers are reliant on each monthly check to pay their bills as of April 2022.
What’s more, the report also revealed high earners weren’t any less vulnerable to the problem. A little over one in three consumers (36%) earning over $250,000 per year said they were also living paycheck-to-paycheck. Those earning over a quarter of a million were up to 40% more likely to use financial products like credit cards to pay for bills.
22% of consumers with more than $250,000 a year in earnings said they have at least 3 credit cards.
60% of consumers living paycheck-to-paycheck in the study earning more than $200,000 said they never resolve their credit balances.
14. 51% of millennials say life-cycle events influence them living paycheck to paycheck
(PYMENTS Financial Distress)
Released by PYMENTS in May 2022, the “New Reality Report” on living paycheck to paycheck (Financial Distress Factors Edition) revealed around 58% of consumers were living paycheck-to-paycheck by mid-year.
When exploring what prompts people to manage their money in this way, the report found that 51% of millennials experienced “life-cycle” issues like having a child or marriage contributing to their financial status. Around 36.3% of consumers also cited “life-altering” events as an issue, like changing jobs or health problems.
Life altering events were also a major factor in living paycheck to paycheck among Gen Z consumers.
Around 39.5% of Gen Z respondents said life-altering events caused them to live from paycheck to paycheck, while 48% attributed their finances to lifecycle events. Among Gen X and Baby Boomers, the impact of life cycle events reduced to under 30%.
15. 75% of millennials live paycheck to paycheck
(PYMENTS, Lending Club)
A report conducted by LendingClub and PYMENTS.com revealed huge jumps in inflation levels have significantly impacted a number of American consumers.
According to the report, the biggest group affected is Millennials. Around 3 in 4 millennials (or 75%) say they’re living from paycheck to paycheck. A third of the Millennials living this way also said they have trouble paying bills.
Alternatively, older consumers are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck. Only 56% of baby boomers were reliant on each monthly income. Notably, the millennials in the study also said they had the most in their savings account, averaging around $3,731 in the bank.
Gen X were deemed to be the generation least likely to afford an emergency expense of $400 or more. Around 59% said they couldn’t deal with a sudden expense at that level.
16. 54% of millennial women live paycheck to paycheck
A report issued by Wells Fargo into the number of millennials living paycheck to paycheck found that more millennial women were struggling with their income than men.
Around 54% of millennial women in the study were living from paycheck to paycheck. According to the report, part of the reason for this is that women were being paid 20% less than their male counterparts on average.
The report also revealed most millennials feel negatively about their financial situation. Around 64% of respondents said they don’t believe they’ll ever accumulate more than $1 million in savings in their lifetime, even though 59% have already begun saving for retirement.
17. Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck
A survey of Millennials and Gen Z consumers around the world by Deloitte found the majority of younger people are concerned about their financial future. The study, which was conducted between November 2021 and January 2021, collected responses from 14,000 Gen Z and 8,400 millennials.
30% of all the respondents said they don’t feel financially secure. What’s more, 46% of Gen Z and 47% of millennial respondents said they live from one paycheck to the next and worry about not being able to manage their expenses.
To deal with financial stress, 43% of Gen Zers and 33% of the millennial respondents in the study said they had taken on a second full-time or part-time job.
This has been a long list, and we think that you’ve earned a little reward for reading through it.
So, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and want to do something about it, here’s what we recommend:
First, take a deep breath and get ready to take action. Because we’re here for you—and so are all of these statistics. The more information you have about your situation, the easier it will be for you to figure out how to improve it!
Second, remember that living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t have to be a permanent state of affairs. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you make your dreams come true—just don’t give up on yourself!
Thirdly… oh wait, did we say thirdly? Don’t forget: there is always someone who has gone through what you’re going through right now and come out on top. They might even be living paycheck to paycheck themselves—but they made it work!
We hope this list of statistics has helped shed some light on what it means to live paycheck to paycheck and how many people are experiencing it today.
If you want more information about this topic (or any other), feel free to contact us anytime!