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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB reports on consumer financial well-being

Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Finance Covid-19

Federal Issues

On June 7, the CFPB published a “Data Spotlight” report regarding financial well-being of consumers between 2017 and 2020. In September 2017, the CFPB published its first report on Financial Well-Being in America, which found a wide variation in how people feel about their financial well-being. The recently released report shows that Americans experienced an average increase in their financial well-being between 2017 and 2020, which was likely due to the government response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Using respondent-level public use data from the Fed’s November 2017 and November 2020 Survey of Household Economics and Decision-making, the Bureau’s report found that despite a national average increase, 36 percent of U.S. adults reported having lower financial well-being in 2020 than in 2017. In analyzing the specific characteristics, including income, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and age, nearly “40 percent of respondents that reported a decline in financial well-being were individuals with incomes of less than $25,000, individuals without a bachelor’s degree or greater, women, and Black/non-Hispanic adults.” The report also found that “five percent of adults with low and very low financial well-being reported moving out of their homes due to immediate or future foreclosure or eviction, compared to only one percent of the general population.” Additionally, the report noted that “between 2017 and 2020, U.S. adults of color, younger adults, and women had smaller increases in financial well-being than white adults, older adults, and men.”