America’s Economic Anxiety at Record Low

A new poll released this week by Marketplace® and Edison Research indicates fewer Americans describe themselves as anxious about their financial situation than they have in the past four years. And while fewer people are losing sleep over concerns about their personal financial situation, the Economic Anxiety Index® score for Democrats and Independents remained relatively unchanged since 2018, but it is dramatically lower among Republicans.Since 2015, Marketplace and Edison Research have used poll responses to develop the Economic Anxiety Index®, a unique measure of the American economy. The number, on a scale from 0-100, is calculated from answers to a battery of questions. The Economic Anxiety Index® describes just how stressed out people feel about their personal financial situations. The higher the number, the more economic stress someone is feeling.

The Economic Anxiety Index® mean score across all demographics for the latest poll is 28. The index has reached an all-time low since its inception and has been steadily decreasing since the 2016 presidential election, when the score was 36.

As part of an ongoing focus at Marketplace on the workplace, this year’s poll asked questions on employee benefits and office culture. The poll coincides with the launch of Marketplace’s new Workplace Culture desk, covered by award-winning journalist Meghan McCarty Carino. Carino spent most of her career at Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), where she was first a producer and then a reporter, most recently covering commuting and mobility. Marketplace will release a steady drumbeat of reporting on the most pressing problems in the working world, emerging solutions, the culture of the workplace and what these changes mean in everyday life.

Additional key findings

A majority of workers would prefer a four-day workweek composed of 10-hour days instead of a five-day workweek of eight-hour days (63%). There are also some elements that a job can offer that are more important to younger or older workers. Opportunities for advancement are more important to 18- to 34-year-olds (71%) than to those 35 or older (58%).

A majority of American workers (68%) think that a warm, friendly work environment is a very important element of a job. However, almost half (48%) of workers have been yelled at by a co-worker or have yelled at someone they work with (35%). More than a quarter of Americans have felt their health or safety was at risk while at work. Hispanics were much more likely to express concern over their health and safety (39%) compared to African Americans (28%) and whites (26%).

For those with student loans, many say taking on debt for their education was not worth it (38%).


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