This Graphic Shows Disturbing Levels of Economic Insecurity

Aug 13, 2015.

A nicely-designed new graphic, provided by the Masters in Accounting web guide, details several layers of financial insecurity for Americans, and the data from which it draws is consistent with a great deal of additional data. The graphic is based on data from Pew Charitable Trusts, and from media and industry studies.

Among the facts starkly shown by the utilitarian tiny houses, pie charts, silhouettes and stock images on the image:

  • 37% of Gen Xers are financially insecure–the highest proportion of any generation.
  • One in three households have someone over the age of 55 with no retirement savings.
  • In 2009, 40% of respondents believed it was common for those who worked hard to become rich. Today, 23% believe that.

Financial insecurity in America is at historic highs. It’s not unwarranted. But it does ruin our relationships, mental health, long-term development, and a lot of other indicators of not failing at life. A new study by the Federal Reserve analyzing last year’s financial data, lists among its key findings:

Forty-seven percent of respondents say they either could not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money.

Thirty-one percent of respondents report going without some form of medical care in the 12 months before the survey because they could not afford it.

And don’t forget that the poor have lower voter turnout.

Of course the studies authors’ aren’t asked to make the larger connections between financial insecurity and the breakdown in public services and utilities, or availability of credit for small businesses. As financial institutions become more oligarchical, people become poorer. To their credit, the reports typically touch on student loan debt, though, the current financial encumbrance is part and parcel of the the private banking model.

Here’s the graphic:

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