By TIPP INSIGHTS EDITORIAL BOARD, TIPP Insights
As Bidenflation rages like wildfire at 12.6%, two-thirds (65%) of Americans are concerned about their ability to pay utility bills. The shocking finding comes from the Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP Poll of 1,277 Americans completed early September.
Overall, energy prices have increased 43% since February 2021, the month after President Biden took office. Under President Biden’s watch, electricity is up by 22%, and utility/piped gas services are up by 47%. We computed the increases using the August CPI data but rebased to Feb 2021.
The situation is dire. Bloomberg recently reported that more than 20 million households are behind on utility bills. The suppliers will likely take action against delinquent customers and shut off their power. Such action would present hardship in the coming winter.
The IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans: How concerned are you about the ability to pay your utility bills? The results:
- 35% are very concerned,
- 30% are somewhat concerned,
- 17% are not very concerned,
- 14% are not at all concerned, and
- 3% are not sure.
Under The Hood
Our data analysis of 36 demographic groups shows that the sentiment is universal. Interestingly, except for one, all other 35 groups shared the concern. The only demographic group with less than 50% expressing concern was those aged 65 and up (48%).
Concerns were shared by 64% of those in the Northeast, 64% in the Midwest, 66% in the South, and 63% in the West. Further, 66% of urban, 61% of suburban, and 67% of rural respondents are worried.
The groups with over 70% concerned are aged 25-44 (74%) and households with $30K to $50K income (72%).
The TIPP Poll results support the data from the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey conducted mid-August. An analysis of the Census Bureau data by the Help Advisor website showed that:
- One in four (26%) Americans reduced basic expenses such as food and medicine to pay their energy bills in the last 12 months.
- One in six (16%) adults report having kept their home at a temperature that felt unsafe or unhealthy in the past year due to rising energy costs.
- In some states, the percentage of residents sacrificing basic needs to pay energy bills is significantly higher than the national average.
In summary, inflation is taking its toll and not sparing anyone. Americans are coping in various ways, including cutting back on food, driving, etc. Real wages have fallen for 17 months in a row. The average American household spends $5,400 a year due to inflation. With many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, finding the extra cash to pay is a big challenge.
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