Inflation is pushing familiy expenses up more than income

Inflation is putting families in a position of balancing increased spending with income - UnSplash +

Families have reported higher spending than income in the last two years

American families once again say their income didn't keep up with rising expenses.

Monthly income grew for 34% of families in 2023 from the previous year, but a higher 38% also increased their monthly expenses, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve. In 2022, 33% of families said their income grew and 40% said their monthly expenses increased.

The last two years show more families reporting higher spending than income, presenting economic struggles at a time when families are still reeling from inflation. Compare that to 2021 and 2022, when more families said their income increased than their spending.

Americans are pointing to inflation as the culprit. Some 35% of adults said inflation was their main financial challenge, up from 33% in 2022 and much higher than 8% in 2016. 

Concerns about inflation remain despite inflation peaking in 2022 and slowing for the rest of that year. This year, inflation came in hotter-than-expected in March, but softened in April as people paid less for groceries.

There are some signs people are doing better. A smaller 31% of survey respondents said they were worse off financially in 2023, down from 35% in 2022.

But parents are having it particularly rough, underscoring the difficulties of raising a family in the current economy.

About 64% of parents living with children under the age of 18 said they were doing okay financially, compared with a higher share of 72% among all respondents. Even so, fewer families and all adults said they were doing alright financially compared to 2022 and many previous years.

Some parents are even reporting hunger. Some 11% said they sometimes or often didn't have enough to eat in the previous month.

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