Consumer Surveys · March 7, 2018

New Marketplace-Edison Research Poll Finds Americans Still Fear Recession Decade after Financial Crash

By Edison Research

SOMERVILLE, March 7, 2018— While a majority of Americans (59 percent) think it is likely there will be a recession in the next year, 54 percent of Americans age 25 and older say that their personal financial situation is better today than it was ten years ago, according to the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll.

“The numbers here tell an interesting story about how differently Americans are experiencing the current economy,” said Deborah Clark, senior vice president and general manager of Marketplace. “Understanding these diverse experiences is crucial to our mission of increasing the economic intelligence of all Americans and our reporting will dive deeper into individual lives and circumstances represented in the latest poll.”

Since 2015, Marketplace and Edison Research have used responses to the poll 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 situation. 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 31, though it varies widely among subgroups. The index is down from 32 since April 2017.

Read more about the findings from latest Marketplace-Edison Research poll and the Economic Anxiety Index® at

Key Findings 

  • The Economic Anxiety Index® is down from April 2017 – 32 to 31.
  • 62 percent of those who agree that the economy is strong say it’s thanks to the private sector.
  • 25-34 year-olds and African-Americans are the most anxious about their personal economic situations. On the job front, hourly workers and gig economy workers are the most anxious.
  • 49 percent of whites say income inequality has increased, versus 51 percent of African-Americans and 58 percent of Hispanics.
  • A little over half of all Americans think that the economy is strong. For those who think the economy is strong, the anxiety index is 27 – four points lower than the average of all Americans.


  • Despite the Anxiety Increase decreasing, nearly six in ten Americans (59 percent) think it is likely there will be a recession in the next year. Recent volatility in the stock market may be one of the reasons Americans are concerned about a recession.
  • More than half of Hispanics and whites said their financial situation is better today than it was in 2008, while less than half of African-Americans said they are better off today than ten years ago.
  • Women were more likely to say they’ve still not recovered from the recession —18 percent vs 10 percent for men.
  • Respondents age 25-34 were most likely to say recession impacted them more than most Americans.

Sexual Harassment 

  • 21 percent of Americans have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace – 27 percent of women and 14 percent of men. 62 percent of respondents affected said it caused them to change their job; 55 percent said it hurt their overall career.
  • When broken down by race, 22 percent of whites, 16 percent of Hispanics, and 15 percent of African-Americans, report sexual harassment.
  • And when broken down by age, people between 55-64 report the highest rates of sexual harassment at work.

Gig Economy

  • 24 percent of Americans earn money in the gig economy; this group is 61 percent male. 53 percent of gig workers consider income from gigs as a secondary income. 44 percent of those that earn their money from the gig economy say it’s their primary source of income.

Marketplace-Edison Research Poll Methodology
The Marketplace Edison Research Survey is a national survey of Americans ages 18 years and older.  A total of 1,040 respondents were interviewed with 500 interviews conducted by telephone and 540 interviews conducted online.  Among the telephone interviews, 296 were conducted via a landline phone and 204 interviews conducted via a cell phone.

The average length of the telephone interviews was twenty minutes.  The telephone interviews were conducted from February 14th – 19th 2018.

The data was weighted to match the most recent United States population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for age, gender, race, income and region of the country.

About Marketplace
Marketplace® is on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country. Its core programs – Marketplace®, Marketplace Morning Report®, Marketplace Weekend® and Marketplace Tech® – are currently broadcast on more than 800 public radio stations nationwide and heard by 14.6 million weekly listeners. Marketplace podcasts including Make Me Smart with Kai and MollyThe Uncertain Hour® and Corner Office can be found at or on your favorite podcast app. The Marketplace portfolio of programs are produced and distributed by American Public Media®, one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world. For more information on Marketplace, visit, follow us on Twitter @marketplace or like us on Facebook. For more information on American Public Media, visit

About Edison Research
Since its founding in 1994, Edison Research has conducted over 11,000 research assignments in 38 countries. Edison works with a broad array of commercial clients, governments and NGOs, including AMC Theatres, The Brookings Institute, Disney, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Siemens, SiriusXM Radio, and Univision Communications.

Since 2003, Edison Research has been the sole provider of exit poll information to the National Election Poll, having conducted exit polls and collected precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.  This exit poll is the largest single-day survey research project in the world, collecting more than 100,000 interviews in the 2016 General Election.


Media Contacts:
Mary Meyn, Edison Research —
Mark Larson, Marketplace —

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