Living Paycheck To Paycheck Statistics

15+ New Living Paycheck to Paycheck Statistics in 2024

Published on: December 5, 2023
Last Updated: December 5, 2023

15+ New Living Paycheck to Paycheck Statistics in 2024

Published on: December 5, 2023
Last Updated: December 5, 2023

According to Wikipedia, world wealth equals $454 billion.

The wealth of the US is just short of $140 billion, significantly higher than any other country.

In fact, the US has 30.8% of the world’s wealth.

It’s little wonder it’s known as the land of opportunity. 

Unfortunately, as with most countries, the wealth is concentrated in a small group of people.

As the following living paycheck to paycheck statistics show, not everyone in the US is wealthy. 

Key Statistics

  • Roughly 60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
  • 75% of Americans earning under $50k live paycheck to paycheck
  • 26% of Americans never expect to be financially secure
  • 52% of Americans don’t have a three-month saving cushion
  • 21.7% of millennials have no savings
  • 57% of women say income has not kept up with inflation
  • 35% of Americans have credit card debt
  • 41% of Americans with a side hustle do it to make ends meet
  • 70% of Americans are stressed about their finances
  • 33.5 million Americans spend more than they earn
  • Average American savings are $10,757
  • People living paycheck to paycheck declined during the pandemic
  • 60% of the LGBTQIA+ community live paycheck to paycheck
  • 53% of Canadians are living from one paycheck to the next
  • 70% of UK workers see themselves as broke
  • 48% of UK workers use credit at least once a year

Top Living Paycheck to Paycheck Statistics in 2024

1. Roughly 60% Of Americans Live Paycheck To Paycheck


There are approximately 330 million people living in the US and 60% of them are living paycheck to paycheck.

That’s nearly 200,000 US residents!

Everyone of these stresses about money, struggles to deal with unexpected emergency- expenses, and would face serious financial issues if they lost their source of income.

It’s particularly concerning at the moment as the economy is struggling, inflation is higher than normal and interest rates may still rise again. 

It’s worth noting that many of these 200,000 Americans have secure jobs and even earn a decent wage.

Unfortunately, the cost of living continues to rise, creating problems for a large proportion of the nation. 


2. 75% Of Americans Earning Under $50k Live Paycheck To Paycheck

This statistic illustrates how big the divide between the wealthy and less-affluent really is.

According to the latest survey, as many as three out of every four Americans earning less than $50,000 a year, live from paycheck to paycheck. 

For Americans earning between $50,000 and $100,000, roughly 66% of them are living paycheck to paycheck. 

It’s worth noting that, while this figure is lower, it’s not significantly different.

This suggests that people are spending to their means, or perhaps over. The only question is whether this is out of necessity or desire. 

The good news is it’s possible for anyone to break this cycle and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

It just takes a little knowledge and a lot of willpower. 


3. 26% Of Americans Never Expect To Be Financially Secure

The expression ‘financial secure’ generally means you have enough money to live on without needing to worry about money. 

Of course, how much money this equates to will depend on the individual, their needs, and their standard of living. 

What is true, according to a recent survey b y Metlife, is that 72% of Americans have some financial stability but don’t consider themselves financially secure. 

Furthermore, 26% of Americans don’t expect to ever be financially secure. 

This means that 28% of Americans do have financial security.

Just over a quarter of the population isn’t the best advertisement for wealth in the country. 

It’s worth noting, a recent survey by Pyments showed that 45% of Americans felt they needed to earn more than $100,000 a year to feel financially secure.


4. 52% Of Americans Don’t Have A Three-Month Saving Cushion

Most financial experts agree that the three-month saving cushion is the minimum that every family should have. 

In effect, three months worth of savings is enough to cover emergency expenses and keep the household going after losing a job. 

It provides some peace of mind, buying you time to find a new job or source of income. 

However, according to the latest reports, one third of Americans aren’t actively building a savings cushion and don’t have any funds to fall back on.

As many as 60% of these don’t have any savings. 

The survey also found that 52% of Americans don’t have a three-month savings cushion.

In other words, they will struggle if expenses go up too much, they lose a source of income, or unforeseen emergency expenses arise. 


5. 21.7% Of Millennials Have No Savings


Savings levels differ between generations.

This isn‘t completely surprising when you look at the facts behind the figures. 

According to the latest statistics, 21.7% of Millennials have no savings, that’s the largest percentage of any generation. 

Unfortunately, this is also the generation which is supporting children and parents.

Hence, they have significant demands on their funds and are likely to find it difficult to save. 

That figure doesn’t include the ‘bridge millennials’.

That’s people born at the very end of generation X and the beginning of millennials.

An impressive 20.3% of bridge millennials have no savings.

Other generations fare better.

Just 14.4% of baby boomers have no savings.

This generation is older and has had more time to create savings. 

Generation X falls in the model with 18.2% of the generation having no savings. 

However, the surprising generation is Gen Z.

Just 15.4% of this generation have no savings.

This suggests the generation is better at saving, potentially helped by children continuing to live with parents for longer. 


6. 57% Of Women State Income Has Not Kept Up With Inflation

As with most things in life there is a difference between genders.

Thankfully, the difference isn’t as big as it could be. 

According to the 2022 Bankrate survey, 57% of women feel their income has not increased in line with inflation.

In other words, they are worse off today than they were a few years ago. 

54% of men have the same issue, illustrating that inadequate wage increases is something both genders suffer from, almost equally. 

You should note that women want to earn $237,000 a year to consider themselves comfortable.

It would take $502,000 per year for them to feel rich. 

That’s $37,000 more per year than a man would want to feel rich. 


7. 35% Of Americans Have Credit Card Debt

Credit cards have become a mainstay of society.

According to the Federal Reserve, approximately 82% of Americans own a credit card

It can be an effective way to cover unexpected purchases or even to help protect yourself when buying online.

However, credit cards can also make it easy to rack up debt.

All it takes is not paying the balance off in full every month. 

This means you’re carrying credit card debt from month to month and are unlikely to have a plan to reduce the overall balance. 

In short, your overall debt will rise and you’re at risk of defaulting if you have any financial issues. 

Unfortunately, the latest Bankrate surveys suggest that 35% of US adults are carrying credit card debt onward every month.

That means higher monthly payments, especially as interest rates rise.

The result can be an inability to pay the minimum monthly amount. 

With no savings this can quickly damage your credit rating. 


8. 41% Of Americans With A Side Hustle Do It To Make Ends Meet

Side hustles are becoming extremely popular.

For some, it’s an opportunity to express themselves.

Others use side hustles as an effective way to earn extra money and make ends meet. 

In fact, the 2022 Bankrate survey shows that 41% of Americans with a side hustle started it in order to help make ends meet.

That’s a 10% rise on 2019 when just 31% of people with a side hustle needed the money to survive. 

Of course, you can also start a  side hustle for fun, simply because you’re passionate about something.

But, the extra funds are always appreciated. 

You should note that approximately 40% of Americans have a side hustle.

That’s roughly 130 million people. 

If 41% of these have a side hustle just to make ends meet, that’s roughly 53 million Americans working a side hustle just to stay afloat. 


9. 70% Of Americans Are Stressed About Their Finances

When you start to appreciate how many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, it suddenly becomes less surprising that 70% of Amricans are stressed about money. 

The economy has, and continues to be, uncertain.

Inflation is still high, interest rates may climb again, and economies across the planet are on the cusp of recession. 

Add in the fact that many Americans don’t have a savings cushion and it’s easy to see why so many people are stressed. 

It’s worth  noting that the situation isn’t much better for many with savings.

The latest research suggests that 26% of people with savings have less than $5,000 put aside. 

As long term stress has a negative impact on health, poor finances could be creating a serious health issue in the future. 


10. 33.5 Million Americans Spend More Than They Earn


For some, the inability to create a savings pot or escape from a paycheck to paycheck survival is simply because they, along with 33.5 million other Americans, spend more than they earn every month. 

It’s difficult to put anything aside for savings if there is nothing less.

In fact, spending more than  you earn means living in debt which will gradually get worse. 

What the survey doesn’t illustrate is whether the overspending is a result of overshipping, or simply a necessity to pay all their bills. 

With 13.5% of Americans spending more than they earn, this statistics needs to be investigated further.

(PR newswire)

11. Average American Savings Are $10,757

In May 2023 the average level of savings for Americans was $11,274.

By June, just one month later, this average had dropped to $10,757.

That’s a significant drop in one month, suggesting that households are starting to tap into their savings to make ends meet. 

It’s interesting to note that 70% of savings deposited by those living paycheck to paycheck, are deposited in funds which provide easy access. 

In fact, the average consumer has 50% of their savings in PayPal or a similar digital bank.

It’s not great interest but the money is safe and easy to access. 

Only 20% of savings are in retirement or education accounts, and 11% is in stock and bonds. 

The survey found that 46% of savers want to ensure quick access is available before depositing emergency funds. 

Of course, Americans earning over $200,000 a year generally have more diversified portfolios. 

(PR newswire)

12. People Living Paycheck To Paycheck Declined During The Pandemic

The pandemic brought with it a lot of unpleasant things.

However, in terms of spending, it brought some positive benefits. 

As people were trapped at home without access to physical stores, they either needed to order online or simply go without.

Many people chose the first option, and online sales increased dramatically.

At the same time, people were generally more specific about what they were buying and perhaps more aware of the costs. 

The result was, during the pandemic, 69% of people would find it difficult to pay their weekly and monthly bills.

While that figure is high, it’s better than the 74% who lived paycheck to paycheck during 2019.

In short, the pandemic has encouraged people to live within their means and save money when possible.

The question is whether this caution will continue after the pandemic and help reduce the number of people living paycheck to Paycheck.

(American Payroll Association)

13. 60% Of The LGBTQIA+ Community Live Paycheck To Paycheck

Despite many people having the best of intentions, many minority groups still find themselves discriminated against. 

The LGBTQIA+ community is a perfect example of this happening.

According to a study by the NEFE (National Endowment for Financial Education), 30% of this community regularly experience bias and discrimination. 

This bias makes it harder to secure jobs and build savings.

In other words, 60% of LGBTQIA+ people are living from paycheck to paycheck. 

Perhaps more concerning is the 40% of respondents who wouldn’t seek help because of the way they are treated by financial services.

This includes the marketing tactics of the aforementioned financial institution. 

The lack of desire to seek help means that many people aren’t getting help or improving the system.


14. 53% Of Canadians Are Living From One Paycheck To The Next

It’s not just Americans which are affected by financial uncertainty.

According to the latest statistics from Canada, many Canadians are also worried about their financial security. 

In a recent survey, 53% of those asked responded that they were living paycheck to paycheck.

They had no savings and 27% of those asked felt they couldn’t cover daily costs with the money they earned. 

A quarter of respondents indicated that the amount of debt they were carrying was now too much for them to afford.

A further 57% admitted that they have a large amount of credit card debt.

Even more concerning is the fact that 31% of those asked confirmed they were relying on credit cards to get by, the size of their debt was actually increasing. 

In short, it’s not just the US facing a financial crisis. 

(BDO Canada Affordability Index)

15. 70% Of UK Workers See Themselves As Broke

Canada appears to have more people living paycheck to paycheck than the US.

However, the UK fares worse than both of them. 

According to the latest survey, 70% of UK workers consider themselves chronically broke.

In other words, they are constantly struggling to cover all the bills and other financial commitments. 

Just 30% of those asked felt they were comfortable financially.

In fact, 30% of respondents said they were unable to pay all their bills. 

That’s not all the survey uncovered.

It revealed 32% of UK workers have less than £500 in savings.

As many as 41% of those asked had up to £1,000 in savings and a third of people were extremely concerned about their finances and debts. 

The matters are made worse for 43% of those surveyed as they don’t have anyone else who can help them out.

That means, they have no way of dealing with emergencies. 

(Royal Society Of Arts)

16. 48% Of UK Workers Use Credit At Least Once A Year


To further illustrate how much more serious the issue is in the UK, compared to the US, a recent survey highlighted that 48% of UK workers use credit at least once a year to make ends meet. 

The survey also revealed that 13% of people use credit every month to get by. 

Amazingly, the survey found that 48% of Brits spent all their money within the month before they reached their next paycheck.

Worse, 39% admitted that their wages were spent within a week of being paid, leaving them to go three weeks with no money. 

The situation is unlikely to get better for most Brits as 60% don’t put anything into a savings account. 

(Lowell Debt Management Company)

How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck

There are several things you can do to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

However, you should be aware that the process can take time.

Sticking to a financial plan isn’t always easy but it is worthwhile. 

  • Increase Your Income

You may be able to work overtime at your current job.

However, you’ll probably find it’s better to start a side hustle.

Simply pick something you enjoy doing and then look at how you can get paid from doing it. 

Side hustles have become a common part of the US economy.

In fact, the average American can earn around $1,000 a month from a side hustle!

That’s going to make a significant difference to your monthly earnings and ability to cover your bills/save for a rainy day. 

  • Decrease Your Expenditure

The other option is equally as obvious.

It’s time to reduce your expenditure. 

You’ll need to list everything you spend every month.

Take a look at each item and decide if you really need it.

Cancel anything you’re not using.

That means extra cable subscriptions, unused gym memberships, and so on. 

Next, look at your weekly expenses and see where you’re wasting money.

Having a coffee in a coffee shop every day can cost between $1,500 and $2,000 a year!

Cancel the coffee and free up some funds!

  • Move

Another option is to look at your current living arrangements and decide if you can downsize.

If you can, you need to evaluate the costs to ensure you would still be comfortable in your home, that it is big enough, and that it will make a significant financial difference. 

This approach can be done whether you own your property or are renting.  

Summing Up

Despite being the wealthiest nation in the world, the living paycheck to paycheck statistics paint a grim picture for much of the American population.

It’s worse in other countries. 

Fortunately, you now realize you’re not alone and everyone can do something about it.

The right attitude will allow you to increase your income and decrease your outgoings and therefore your stress levels. 

Of course, reducing the expectation of instant gratification is likely to help people save and only purchase the things they really need.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen any time soon.

For now, you can read the statistics, realize you’re not alone, and recognize that you are the only one who can improve your own financial situation. 


Value PenguinPRNewswire

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Written by Kelly Indah

I’m a statistics researcher here at EarthWeb with a special interest in privacy, tech, diversity, equality and human rights. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science and I have my Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.