WASHINGTON: Nearly one-third of US adults face financial difficulties or are "just getting by," despite a slight improvement in well-being in the overall population, according to Federal Reserve report released on Friday (May 19).
The survey showed 30 per cent or 73 million adults described their personal financial situation as difficult, but the rates of hardship were higher in black and Hispanic populations, compared with whites.
The Fed's annual appraisal of economic well-being of US households showed more adults would be able to withstand a modest financial disruption than in years past.
The number of respondents saying they could not cover a US$400 emergency expense, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money was down to 44 per cent from 50 per cent in 2013.
Even so, the Fed said, "Substantial shares of adults are struggling with their regular expenses or would struggle to cope with an unexpected hardship."
The Fed spotlighted the continued impact of soaring health care costs on everyday Americans, with 10 per cent of adults, or 24 million, carrying debt from medical expenses incurred over the last year.
Costs for higher education were another key difficulty, with more than half of the adults who attended college taking on debt.
Overall, the picture is slightly improved, with 70 percent of Americans reporting they were living comfortably or doing okay financially, up from 69 per cent in 2015 and 62 per cent in 2013.
The report is based on a survey sent to almost 12,000 adults that drew responses from about 56 per cent of that sample population.