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Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims A Record Number of Americans Feel Financially Comfortable

Claim: “A recent survey by the Federal Reserve found that more Americans feel financially comfortable than any time since the survey began in 2013,” President Biden said Friday.

Verdict: Misleading.

The survey is not recent, as the president claimed. It is based on responses from households last October and November, when inflation was much lower and had a lot less of an impact on household sentiment.

The most recent inflation data available to households showed prices were up 5.3 percent over the most recent 12-months in September and 6.2 percent in October.  Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was at four percent in September and 4.6 percent in October. A survey from Gallup showed that only five percent of Americans named inflation as the nation’s top problem in October.

Since then inflation has skyrocketed. The Consumer Price Index was up 8.6 percent annually in March and 8.2 percent in April. Core inflation was 6.4 percent in March and 6.1 percent in April. The share of American households citing inflation as the top problem rose to 18 percent, the highest since 1983.

The Fed study cited by Biden is the 2021 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED). It found that 78 percent of adults were doing at least okay financially, meaning they reported either “doing okay” financially (39 percent) or “living comfortably” (39 percent). Those numbers are not that much different from the 2018 and 2019 results, in which 75 percent indicated they were either “doing okay” financially (39 percent) or “living comfortably” (36 percent), matching the rate in 2018.

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