Marketplace-Edison Research Poll Finds Individual Economic Anxiety Even in Growing Economy

Despite the continued improvement in the U.S. economy, there’s still discontent among many Americans about their personal economic situations, according to a new poll from Marketplace and Edison Research. The results of that poll were released today and developed into the first-ever Marketplace-Edison Research Economic Anxiety Index.
Key findings

Among the more than 1,000 Americans surveyed:

  • More than one in four people are losing sleep over their current financial situation.
  • Sixty-three percent said they are sometimes or frequently anxious about their financial situation.
  • Forty-two percent said they feel stuck in their current financial situation.
  • Nearly two in five of those surveyed who have student loans don’t think those loans were worth it.

“The results of this poll show an interesting dynamic,” said Deborah Clark, Marketplace vice president and executive producer. “Data tell us that our economy is growing stronger every month, yet people feel like they’re continuing to struggle. People are losing sleep over worries about advancing their careers, finding work if they lose their jobs, paying the mortgage and making rent.”
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How those individual fears play out on the national scene when voters head to the polls next year is yet to be seen, but the Economic Anxiety Index – which will be released periodically throughout the election cycle – is an important metric of which the 2016 presidential candidates should take note. The Economic Anxiety Index, a scale from 0 to 100, was developed from the responses to poll questions about respondents’ own financial situations, their fears about job security, and their concerns about meeting their expenses. The higher the number, the more economic stress someone is feeling. The Economic Anxiety Index mean score across all demographics is 31, though it varies widely among subgroups.

“We at Edison Research are proud to partner with Marketplace on this unique inquiry into the economic and financial state of mind of the American public,” said Larry Rosin, president of Edison Research. “We worked together to find the answers to questions that have not been asked before and the results are enlightening.”

The “99 percent” is not created equal

While it’s common to hear about the gap between the one percent and all the rest, there are much more telling divisions, including salaried workers versus hourly workers. Among hourly workers, 32 percent say their financial situation causes lost sleep, compared to 17 percent among those who are paid a salary. Similarly, 43 percent of hourly workers feel stuck, while only 21 percent of salaried workers report feeling that way. The Economic Anxiety Index scores of those groups reflect that difference. Hourly workers have a mean Anxiety Index of 39, compared to 26 for salaried workers.

“This Anxiety Index confirmed something that we’ve seen in our reporting over the years: The economy is personal,” Clark said. “No matter what the jobs reports, housing index or other indicators say, the numbers that matter most are those that hit closest to home. As the election nears and we conduct additional polling, it will be interesting to see how these Anxiety Index numbers correlate with Americans’ political choices.”

Hope for opportunity amid worry

In spite of the deep anxiety felt by Americans across demographic groups, there remains a sense of optimism – that hard work is more important than luck in getting ahead and that the American Dream is still attainable. In fact, 72 percent of respondents believe that they have a fair opportunity to achieve the life they hope for.

Marketplace-Edison Research Poll Methodology

The Marketplace-Edison Research Poll is a national survey of Americans ages 18 years and older. A total of 1,016 respondents were interviewed with 501 interviews conducted by telephone and 515 interviews conducted online. Among the telephone interviews, 300 were conducted via a landline phone and 201 interviews conducted via a mobile phone so that the proper proportion of coverage of households in the United States that do not have a landline phone would be achieved. The landline and cell phone sample of phone numbers and the email addresses for the online survey were provided by Survey Sampling International (SSI). The average length of the telephone interviews was sixteen minutes. The interviews were conducted from September 8-18, 2015. The data was weighted to match the most recent United States population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for age, gender, race and region of the country. With a total sample size of 1,016 respondents, the calculated margin of error with a 95 percent confidence interval for results among the entire sample is +/- 3 percent. The calculated margins of error for results among smaller sub-groups are higher. The Economic Anxiety Index was developed from the survey responses.

About Edison Research

Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Gulf News, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Time Warner and Yahoo. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. All of Edison Research’s industry studies can be found on the company’s website at www.edisonresearch.com and can be downloaded free of charge.

About Marketplace

Marketplace® is produced and distributed by American Public Media™ (APM), one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world with a portfolio reaching 19 million listeners via nearly 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. Produced in association with the University of Southern California, Marketplace® programs (Marketplace, Marketplace Weekend, Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Tech) are currently broadcast by nearly 800 public radio stations nationwide and heard by more than 12 million weekly listeners and Marketplace, the weekday evening program, is the largest business news program, on radio or TV, in the country. Marketplace’s digital audience is also robust, with more than 5 million podcast downloads and stream requests every month, on apps like iTunes, Slacker and TuneIn. Marketplace programs are noted for their timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economic and personal finance focusing on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy and wider events linked to the financial markets. For more information on Marketplace visit marketplace.org. Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio and StreamGuys. Data are estimates only.

Edison “Research Moms” present at Marketing to Moms conference

Health Media Network and The Research Moms of Edison Research teamed up to present “Moms Point of View at the Point of Care” at the Marketing to Moms conference in New York City on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. The presentation showcases data from a national research study that focused on the health journey of Moms with children age 2 and under.

Follow The Research Moms on Twitter @researchmoms or contact them at info@researchmoms.com.

Edison “Research Moms” to present at Marketing to Moms conference

POVatPOCheart2Health Media Network and The Research Moms of Edison Research have teamed up to present new research on Moms. They will be unveiling the results of a national research study, “Moms Point of View at the Point of Care” at the Marketing to Moms conference in New York City on Tuesday October 6, 2015 (http://m2moms.com). The study focuses on the health journey of Moms with children age 2 and under, and includes valuable insights on Mom as a consumer, what influences these Moms, and more.

The presentation also features video excerpts from in-person interviews with moms talking candidly about the challenges of caring for a young child and where they find the support they need. Follow The Research Moms (@researchmoms on Twitter, and at www.researchmoms.com) for updates during and after the event.

 

the involved mom

At any given time, a mom has her hands full with schedules, routines and day to day organization of her family. A master at keeping crisis in check and knowing what’s what 24/7, she is constantly absorbing information from her children about their friends, activities and school. No matter how busy life gets, mom has a seemingly endless capacity to take in and take on even more. This is put to the test at the end of every summer, when we gear up for the return to school.

When the packets of school information arrive in the mail, children anxiously check with their friends for class placement while mom gives the evil eye to the pile of documents that need to be completed by the first day. It is the beginning of the school year madness, which involves homework, sports practices and the carpool, and all of which put mom right in the mix. Regardless of how much paperwork, driving or brain power is required, mom will still manage to be heavily involved in activities concerning her children. This is evidenced in data from a study by The Research Moms where we see consistency in mom’s involvement, especially in the tween and teen set.

Nearly all moms (96%) who have a child in school between 6th and 12th grade said they are at least somewhat involved in the extracurricular activities of their children, with 47% saying they are very involved. This involvement can come in many forms. Whether cheering on the sidelines at every soccer game, manning the snack bar at the little league field or driving to chorus practice, it all counts and mom pitches in when and where she can.   Even working moms share that same level of engagement, with 48% saying they are very involved with the extracurricular activities of their children. Additionally, nine out of ten moms report being at least somewhat involved with the friendships and social activities of their children. With children in middle school through high school, that can mean a lot of angst and drama, which also means a lot of advice being doled out from mom.

It isn’t just the extracurricular items that mom gets her hands in. She is also heavily involved in what’s going on with school itself. Ninety-five percent of moms with a child in school between 6th and 12th grade said they are involved with schoolwork and grades, with the majority (62%) being very involved. More than half of working moms (52%) said the same for their participation in class selection and scheduling, which is higher than the 45% of all moms and 31% of stay-at-home moms who said they are very involved. Even though moms have plenty of responsibilities, including many outside the home, these women remain looped in with their children and their day to day happenings.

How the study was conducted:

The Research Moms conducted a national online survey of 540 mothers with children age 21 and under in 2015.

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(c) Freefoto.com

Back to School

By: Laura Silvia

As much as the majority of moms have enjoyed having kids out of school for the summer, back-to-school time is upon us. And there is no shortage of articles and posts about it, from the heart-wrenching to the informative and everything in between.

We at The Research Moms asked our sample of moms who have a child in school from Kindergarten through 12th grade about their stress level at back-to-school time, and 63% said they have “a little bit” of stress, while 7% said their stress level is “off the charts.”  That’s 70% of moms feeling some level of stress about their children heading back into the classroom.

And that stress is understandable. Schedules are changing and calendars are filling up.  There are supplies that need to be purchased, forms that need to be filled out, and alternative care that may need to be arranged before or after school. There may be a transfer to a different school or the first time riding the bus. All of these items – and more – add to mom’s stress level at back-to-school time.

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One of the biggest contributors to mom’s stress may likely be the stress level of her children.  Moms are typically right on the pulse of their children’s emotions. A mom can often decipher how her children are feeling from a single look or a one-word answer (maybe not so much for teenagers, but that’s a different story). If her children are feeling stressed or apprehensive about the school year, mom is going to feel it.  Most of us have felt some amount of fear or anxiety at back-to-school time as kids, and so moms can relate to what their children are feeling. If children are feeling stressed about going back to school, that compounds mom’s stress level.  Lunches will get figured out, bags will get packed, but there isn’t a quick or easy way to alleviate children’s fears or anxieties about school. Much of that is in the hands of their teachers, and it can be difficult on moms to hand over their children – and their control of the situation. But it has to be done.

The good news is that this is likely temporary. By the time everyone settles into the new routine, these stresses are a distant memory.  Steer clear of reporters who may make them cry, arm them (and yourself) with information if they are nervous about the adjustment, and keep doing the best job you can.  And to the 7% of moms whose stress level is “off the charts,” there’s always chocolate.

School bus cover image from freefoto.com.