Over Half of US Adults Stress About Rising Prices & Other Key Findings

Featured

Written by:

Over the last few years, Americans have felt pinched by rising prices. In fact, nearly a quarter of credit cardholders in the 100 largest U.S. metros have at least one maxed-out credit card, according to a recent LendingTree study.

However, some relief may be on the horizon: Between January 2023 and January/February 2024, 12.1% fewer Americans believe the price of goods and services has risen recently, and 16.8% fewer Americans are moderately or very stressed about prices.

Here’s what else we found.

  • 81.2% of Americans report prices for goods and services have risen recently, with residents of Southern states the most likely to say so. Mississippi residents are the most likely to report rising costs in the past two months, at 89.0%. Residents in South Carolina (87.2%) and Alabama (86.8%) follow. Comparatively, only 64.3% of residents in the District of Columbia say similarly, with Vermont (67.6%) and Minnesota (72.6%) residents the others least likely to report rising goods and services costs.
  • As high as the numbers are, they represent a substantial decrease from a year ago. In early 2023, 92.4% of Americans reported that prices for goods and services rose over the past two months. That means 12.1% fewer Americans believe prices have risen recently. The biggest annual drops happened in Vermont (25.2%), the District of Columbia (23.6%) and Minnesota (21.0%).
  • 58.0% of American adults are very or moderately stressed about rising prices. Those rates are highest in Louisiana (66.5%), West Virginia (65.8%) and Mississippi (64.6%). In contrast, 37.7% of those in the District of Columbia are very or moderately stressed about prices, followed by 44.9% in Minnesota and 46.9% in Massachusetts.
  • Across the country, that still represents a drop from the 69.6% of adults who were moderately or very stressed about rising prices to start 2023. That means 16.8% fewer Americans are now moderately or very stressed about prices. The biggest yearly drops happened in Massachusetts (26.4%), Minnesota (24.5%) and Idaho (23.7%).

Rising costs may feel like the norm for many Americans, particularly as just over 4 in 5 (81.2%) report that prices for goods and services have risen in the past two months. Southern states are the most likely to have residents report rising costs, with Mississippi leading at 89.0%.

South Carolina and Alabama follow, at 87.2% and 86.8%, respectively.

On the other end of the list, just 64.3% of residents in the District of Columbia say similarly — making it the state where residents are least likely to report price hikes in the past two months. That’s followed by Vermont (67.6%) and Minnesota (72.6%).

3 states where people are most likely to say the cost of goods and services has risen

Rank State % who say prices rose in the past 2 months
1 Mississippi 89.0%
2 South Carolina 87.2%
3 Alabama 86.8%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

According to LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz, income likely plays a role.

“Southern states tend to have lower per-capita incomes than much of the rest of the country,” he says. “That means their financial wiggle room is likely smaller and that they have to watch every penny more carefully. Every little increase in the cost of groceries, gas and other staples becomes magnified and is more likely to be noticed.”

In fact, all three states mentioned have per-capita incomes below the U.S. average of $41,261. By state, the average per-capita income is:

  • Mississippi: $29,209
  • South Carolina: $36,072
  • Alabama: $33,344

Meanwhile, the lowest ranking states all have per-capita incomes above the U.S. average (even though Vermont is close):

  • District of Columbia: $71,297
  • Vermont: $41,680
  • Minnesota: $44,947

Full rankings

States where people are most likely to say the cost of goods and services has risen

Rank State % who say prices rose in the past 2 months
1 Mississippi 89.0%
2 South Carolina 87.2%
3 Alabama 86.8%
4 Louisiana 86.6%
5 Oklahoma 86.0%
6 West Virginia 85.7%
7 Kentucky 84.7%
8 Texas 84.1%
9 Nevada 83.9%
10 Indiana 83.8%
10 New York 83.8%
12 Arkansas 83.7%
12 Wyoming 83.7%
14 Tennessee 83.4%
15 Hawaii 83.3%
16 California 82.9%
17 New Mexico 82.7%
18 Missouri 82.5%
18 Nebraska 82.5%
20 North Dakota 82.4%
21 Ohio 81.9%
22 Georgia 81.4%
23 Arizona 81.3%
24 Florida 81.2%
25 North Carolina 81.0%
26 Virginia 80.6%
27 Illinois 80.5%
28 Michigan 80.4%
29 Alaska 80.0%
30 New Jersey 79.9%
31 Pennsylvania 79.5%
32 Kansas 79.4%
33 Delaware 78.9%
34 Iowa 78.5%
34 South Dakota 78.5%
36 Connecticut 78.4%
37 Idaho 78.1%
38 Colorado 77.7%
39 Utah 77.2%
40 Maryland 77.0%
41 Washington 76.9%
42 Montana 76.7%
43 Rhode Island 75.4%
44 Wisconsin 75.3%
45 New Hampshire 75.1%
45 Oregon 75.1%
47 Maine 73.9%
48 Massachusetts 73.1%
49 Minnesota 72.6%
50 Vermont 67.6%
51 District of Columbia 64.3%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

Though it feels as if costs have been rising with no end in sight, the percentage of Americans who reported rising costs has decreased since 2023. Last year, 92.4% of Americans reported that prices for goods and services rose over the past two months — or 12.1% fewer Americans than the 81.2% who have this sentiment now.

This comes as the consumer price index (CPI) — an index that measures the average change over time in the prices consumers pay for goods and services — rose 3.1% between January 2023 and January 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s a much milder increase than the 6.4% spike between January 2022 and January 2023.

By state, Vermont had the biggest drop, decreasing 25.2% from 90.4% to 67.6%. That’s followed by the drops in the District of Columbia (23.6%) and Minnesota (21.0%).

3 states where fewer Americans report rising goods and services costs

Rank State % who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January 2023 % who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January/February 2024 % change
1 Vermont 90.4% 67.6% -25.2%
2 District of Columbia 84.2% 64.3% -23.6%
3 Minnesota 91.9% 72.6% -21.0%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

On the other end of the list, the decrease was smallest in Hawaii, with just 4.7% fewer residents reporting rising prices between 2023 and 2024. The CPI in Honolulu rose similarly, 3.9%, between January 2023 and 2024, according to the BLS. Food, in particular, has seen a spike in Honolulu. While food prices rose 2.6% across the U.S. between January 2023 and January 2024, they rose 4.5% in Honolulu in the same period.

Hawaii residents may feel those food price hikes more than most Americans, too. According to the BLS, 17.3% of a Honolulu resident’s budget was spent on food between 2021 and 2022 — much higher than the 12.6% average across the U.S. in the same period.

After Hawaii, Mississippi (6.7%) had the next smallest drop in residents reporting rising prices. That’s followed by West Virginia and South Carolina, at 7.8% for both.

Full rankings

States where fewer Americans report rising goods and services costs

Rank State % who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January 2023 % who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January/February 2024 % change
1 Vermont 90.4% 67.6% -25.2%
2 District of Columbia 84.2% 64.3% -23.6%
3 Minnesota 91.9% 72.6% -21.0%
4 Massachusetts 92.1% 73.1% -20.6%
5 Wisconsin 92.9% 75.3% -18.9%
6 Maine 91.0% 73.9% -18.8%
7 New Hampshire 90.9% 75.1% -17.4%
8 Montana 92.8% 76.7% -17.3%
9 Rhode Island 91.1% 75.4% -17.2%
10 Oregon 90.1% 75.1% -16.6%
11 Delaware 94.5% 78.9% -16.5%
12 Idaho 93.2% 78.1% -16.2%
13 Utah 91.8% 77.2% -15.9%
14 Maryland 91.5% 77.0% -15.8%
15 Colorado 91.7% 77.7% -15.3%
16 South Dakota 92.3% 78.5% -15.0%
17 Alaska 93.9% 80.0% -14.8%
17 Connecticut 92.0% 78.4% -14.8%
17 Pennsylvania 93.3% 79.5% -14.8%
20 Michigan 93.6% 80.4% -14.1%
21 Virginia 93.2% 80.6% -13.5%
22 Illinois 92.5% 80.5% -13.0%
23 New Mexico 94.8% 82.7% -12.8%
24 Florida 93.0% 81.2% -12.7%
24 Kansas 91.0% 79.4% -12.7%
26 Missouri 94.1% 82.5% -12.3%
26 New Jersey 91.1% 79.9% -12.3%
28 Georgia 92.7% 81.4% -12.2%
29 Iowa 89.3% 78.5% -12.1%
29 Tennessee 94.9% 83.4% -12.1%
31 Arizona 92.3% 81.3% -11.9%
31 Washington 87.3% 76.9% -11.9%
31 Wyoming 95.0% 83.7% -11.9%
34 Ohio 92.1% 81.9% -11.1%
35 North Carolina 91.0% 81.0% -11.0%
36 Arkansas 93.8% 83.7% -10.8%
37 Texas 93.5% 84.1% -10.1%
38 Louisiana 96.0% 86.6% -9.8%
39 Kentucky 93.8% 84.7% -9.7%
39 North Dakota 91.3% 82.4% -9.7%
41 Oklahoma 95.1% 86.0% -9.6%
42 Alabama 95.8% 86.8% -9.4%
42 California 91.5% 82.9% -9.4%
44 Nevada 92.4% 83.9% -9.2%
45 Nebraska 90.4% 82.5% -8.7%
46 Indiana 91.7% 83.8% -8.6%
47 New York 91.3% 83.8% -8.2%
48 South Carolina 94.6% 87.2% -7.8%
48 West Virginia 93.0% 85.7% -7.8%
50 Mississippi 95.4% 89.0% -6.7%
51 Hawaii 87.4% 83.3% -4.7%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

With prices as high as they are, it shouldn’t be surprising that 58.0% of American adults are either very or moderately stressed about rising prices.

It’s worth noting that inflation has been cooling at a relatively constant rate. However, Schulz believes continually high interest rates contribute to Americans’ stress over rising prices.

“High rates are absolutely affecting Americans’ ability to afford goods and services,” he says. “A 25% interest rate on a credit card is ugly, and many struggling Americans face rates higher than that. When dealing with record interest rates, it makes you less likely to risk even taking on a little bit of debt for a positive reason. For example, someone considering starting a small business, remodeling a home, financing a wedding or taking on some other big project may shy away because the cost is just too high.”

By state, the percentage of Americans very or moderately stressed about rising costs is highest in Louisiana (66.5%), West Virginia (65.8%) and Mississippi (64.6%). Meanwhile, it’s lowest in the District of Columbia (37.7%), Minnesota (44.9%) and Massachusetts (46.9%).

3 states where people are most likely to be stressed about rising costs

Rank State % of respondents who are very or moderately stressed
1 Louisiana 66.5%
2 West Virginia 65.8%
3 Mississippi 64.6%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

Full rankings

States where people are most likely to be stressed about rising costs

Rank State % of respondents who are very or moderately stressed
1 Louisiana 66.5%
2 West Virginia 65.8%
3 Mississippi 64.6%
4 Kentucky 63.7%
5 South Carolina 62.6%
6 California 62.5%
7 Alabama 62.3%
8 Arkansas 62.2%
8 Texas 62.2%
10 Oklahoma 62.0%
11 Indiana 61.2%
12 Wyoming 61.1%
13 New Mexico 60.0%
14 Georgia 59.6%
15 Nevada 58.9%
16 North Dakota 58.8%
17 Arizona 58.6%
18 Missouri 58.5%
19 Tennessee 58.0%
19 Florida 58.0%
21 New York 57.8%
22 Utah 57.7%
23 Montana 57.2%
23 Oregon 57.2%
25 Michigan 56.9%
26 Ohio 56.8%
27 Hawaii 56.2%
28 Kansas 56.1%
29 Virginia 56.0%
30 New Jersey 55.9%
31 Idaho 55.8%
31 Iowa 55.8%
33 Illinois 55.7%
34 North Carolina 55.6%
35 Nebraska 55.3%
35 Pennsylvania 55.3%
37 Rhode Island 54.9%
38 South Dakota 54.7%
39 Washington 54.6%
40 Connecticut 54.3%
40 Colorado 54.3%
42 Maryland 53.8%
43 Delaware 53.1%
44 Alaska 52.9%
45 Maine 52.0%
46 New Hampshire 50.8%
47 Wisconsin 50.4%
48 Vermont 48.2%
49 Massachusetts 46.9%
50 Minnesota 44.9%
51 District of Columbia 37.7%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

Like the percentage of Americans who’ve noticed price increases, stress surrounding rising prices has fallen, too. At the start of 2023, 69.6% of adults reported being moderately or very stressed. With that percentage at 58.0% now, that means the percentage of Americans stressed about rising prices has fallen 16.8%.

Schulz believes that’s a significant drop. “It certainly seems to indicate that people are feeling better about their financial situation, and that’s a good thing,” he says. “Of course, it’s still concerning that nearly 6 in 10 Americans are stressed about rising prices, but at least the trends are moving in the right direction.”

3 states where fewer Americans are stressed about rising prices

Rank State % who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January 2023 % who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January/February 2024 % change
1 Massachusetts 63.7% 46.9% -26.4%
2 Minnesota 59.5% 44.9% -24.5%
3 Idaho 73.2% 55.8% -23.7%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

Massachusetts had the biggest drop at 26.4%. That’s followed by Minnesota (24.5%) and Idaho (23.7%). On the other end of the list, California saw the smallest drop at 9.8% — making it the only state with a single-digit decrease. That’s followed by Oregon (10.0%) and Hawaii (10.2%).

Full rankings

States where fewer Americans are stressed about rising prices

Rank State % who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January 2023 % who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January/February 2024 % change
1 Massachusetts 63.7% 46.9% -26.4%
2 Minnesota 59.5% 44.9% -24.5%
3 Idaho 73.2% 55.8% -23.7%
4 New Hampshire 66.0% 50.8% -23.0%
5 Vermont 62.0% 48.2% -22.3%
6 Connecticut 69.7% 54.3% -22.1%
7 Wisconsin 64.6% 50.4% -22.0%
8 Florida 73.7% 58.0% -21.2%
9 Maine 65.9% 52.0% -21.1%
9 Utah 73.2% 57.7% -21.1%
11 North Carolina 70.2% 55.6% -20.8%
12 Pennsylvania 69.7% 55.3% -20.7%
13 Delaware 66.4% 53.1% -20.0%
13 Illinois 69.6% 55.7% -20.0%
15 Nevada 73.4% 58.9% -19.8%
16 District of Columbia 46.9% 37.7% -19.6%
17 Alaska 65.5% 52.9% -19.2%
17 Missouri 72.4% 58.5% -19.2%
19 New Jersey 69.1% 55.9% -19.1%
20 Virginia 68.9% 56.0% -18.6%
21 Oklahoma 76.1% 62.0% -18.5%
22 Arizona 71.5% 58.6% -18.0%
23 Arkansas 75.8% 62.2% -17.9%
24 Colorado 66.0% 54.3% -17.8%
25 Wyoming 74.3% 61.1% -17.7%
26 Michigan 69.1% 56.9% -17.5%
27 Tennessee 70.2% 58.0% -17.3%
28 Maryland 64.9% 53.8% -17.2%
28 Ohio 68.6% 56.8% -17.2%
30 Georgia 71.7% 59.6% -16.9%
31 Mississippi 77.2% 64.6% -16.4%
32 South Dakota 65.2% 54.7% -16.1%
33 Alabama 74.0% 62.3% -15.7%
34 New York 68.5% 57.8% -15.6%
35 Rhode Island 64.9% 54.9% -15.4%
36 Louisiana 78.6% 66.5% -15.3%
37 New Mexico 70.8% 60.0% -15.2%
38 Nebraska 65.2% 55.3% -15.1%
39 Montana 67.3% 57.2% -14.9%
40 Kentucky 74.6% 63.7% -14.7%
40 Texas 72.9% 62.2% -14.7%
42 Kansas 64.9% 56.1% -13.6%
43 West Virginia 75.8% 65.8% -13.3%
44 Washington 61.9% 54.6% -11.8%
45 Indiana 69.2% 61.2% -11.7%
46 North Dakota 66.4% 58.8% -11.3%
47 Iowa 62.7% 55.8% -11.0%
48 South Carolina 70.2% 62.6% -10.8%
49 Hawaii 62.6% 56.2% -10.2%
50 Oregon 63.6% 57.2% -10.0%
51 California 69.3% 62.5% -9.8%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

While prices have been high for some time, Schulz says hope is on the horizon. “I think Americans will continue to report fewer price increases, and I hope the economy will continue to give them the reason to do so,” he says. “No one has a crystal ball and nothing is guaranteed, but there’s reason to be hopeful.”

Waiting for that relief may be challenging, particularly if your budget is tight. For these Americans, Schulz offers the following advice:

  • Budget as if inflation isn’t falling. “When creating a budget, it’s better to be conservative with your estimates and be pleasantly surprised than to be overly optimistic and scrambling,” he says. “Assume that the costs in your budget are going to be a good bit higher in six months to a year than today.”
  • Take advantage of great savings rates. “Inflation has been brutal on debtors but amazing for savers,” Schulz says. “If you haven’t shopped around for a new savings account in a few years, you might leave money on the table. Today’s high-yield accounts are returning 4% or 5% or even higher.”
  • Leverage credit card rewards. “The right credit card, used wisely, can help extend your budget,” he says. “Think about your spending habits and goals and make sure your cards give you what you need. If they aren’t, go shopping for a new one. If they are, make the most out of them. Those rewards, even just 1% to 2% cash back, can add up over time.”

LendingTree researchers calculated the rate of adults in each state and the District of Columbia who reported rising prices for goods and services in the prior two months using data from Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey — conducted between Jan. 9 and Feb. 5, 2024 — and compared it to rates reported roughly one year earlier in the Phase 3.7, Week 52 survey — conducted between Jan. 4 and 16, 2023.

The rate was the total number of residents in the state who answered that prices for goods and services rose in the prior two months divided by the total number of adults in the state minus the number of adults who didn’t respond to the question. The total number of adults in each category was weighted and provided by the survey results.

Researchers provided the same calculations and comparisons for adults in each state who reported severe or moderate stress because of rising prices. Only those who responded that prices rose were asked this question. The denominator to calculate rates was the total number of adults minus the number who didn’t answer the question on whether costs rose in the past two months minus the number of those who didn’t answer the question about stress levels.

Source

This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

More from MediaFeed:

Like MediaFeed’s content? Be sure to follow us.

AlertMe

This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

Like MediaFeed's content? Be sure to follow us.