Lower-income households are most affected, according to the latest Consumer Reports IndexAmericans’ assessment of their current condition weakened this month, with declining sentiment compounded by a sharp rise in financial difficulties, felt particularly by the less affluent. That’s according to the monthly Consumer Reports Index, an overall measure of Americans’ personal financial health.
The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker measure, which gauges consumers’ difficulty paying bills and other negative financial events, rose dramatically to 46.0 from 34.7. Financial troubles surged among lower-income consumers (households earning $50,000 or less) and those completing high school or less, while the affluent and college educated saw little change.
Lower-income households continue to be disproportionately affected by the economy’s crawling recovery. Twenty-seven percent of them reported they were unable to afford medical bills or medications in the past 30 days—that’s 11 percentage points higher than the national average. Missed bill payments and lost or reduced healthcare coverage also remain among the most prevalently reported financial troubles overall.