May 17 Gallup Poll Results Concerning Amount Needed To “Get By”

On May 17, Gallup published the poll results titled “Americans Say Family of Four Needs Nearly $60K to ‘Get By’“.

A couple of excerpts:

The federal poverty threshold for a family of four is just under $24,000; however, Americans believe such a family unit living in their community needs more than double that — $58,000, on average — just to “get by.” That estimate reflects 29% of Americans saying these families need up to $50,000 in annual income, 47% saying they need between $50,000 and $99,999, and 10% saying they need $100,000 or more.


The current estimate, from Gallup’s April 11-14 Economics and Finance poll, is only a bit higher than what Gallup found six years ago, in 2007. At that time, Americans estimated that the smallest amount a family of four needed to get by in their community was just over $52,000.

My comments:

I find these poll results to be interesting for a number of reasons.  A few notes:

First, it should be noted that $58,000 is an average, and varies significantly depending on a variety of factors as seen in the survey.  Also, it should be noted that while the average figure is $58,000, the median is $50,000.

Second, the question asked, as seen in the survey, is “What is the smallest amount of money a family of four needs to make each year to get by in your community?”  There appears to be no further clarification of what “get by” means.  I am led to wonder if this “get by” terminology is perceived by respondents as a “core needs” state or also includes such things as building savings and/or saving for college education.  My sense is that it is more skewed toward “core needs,” and may closely resemble the “paycheck to paycheck” condition that I have often commented upon.

Third, the referenced February 9, 2007 poll results has a median figure of $45,000 compared to the aforementioned current median figure of $50,000.


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 1666.78 as this post is written