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Revealed: 1 in 5 US Adults Have Skipped a Meal Because of the Cost of Living Crisis

Revealed: 1 in 5 US Adults Have Skipped a Meal Because of the Cost of Living Crisis

  • Published: 28th November 2022
  • 49% of US adults have cut down on social activities to cope with rising costs, while 19% have skipped a meal.
  • Older Americans are least likely to skip meals, with 18-24 year olds nearly 3x more likely to skip a meal than those 65+.
  • Overall, 32% of American adults say they have decreased their spending due to the cost of living.

As inflation continues to surge, people across the world are struggling with rising costs. Whilst most media coverage has focused on the UK’s ‘cost of living crisis’, new research carried out by MoneyTransfers.com shows that the American public is very much struggling too.

Our survey revealed that 32% of US adults have decreased their spending to cope with the crisis – and nearly 1 in 5 are skipping meals because of it. 

Americans are skipping meals

MoneyTransfers.com surveyed 2,000 adults living across America about the impact of inflation. The results were striking: 49% said they had cut back on social activities to cope with rising costs, while 32% said they had to decrease their spending. 

One of the most striking findings was that 19% of American adults say they have skipped a meal due to the cost of living. Breaking this down into demographics, we see some interesting patterns.

Women were slightly more likely than men to sacrifice eating  – 19% compared to 17%. While people based in the Northeast were far more likely to have skipped a meal – 24% compared to 14% in the Southeast.

Age isn’t just a number

However, the clearest trend relates to age. There is an almost perfect correlation between age and likelihood to go without food. The youngest group (18-24) were most likely to go without food (23%), and each subsequent age group were slightly less likely to – culminating with the over 65s, just 8% of whom said they had skipped a meal. 

This may be a question of relative economic status: 18-24 year olds were significantly more likely to say they earned $20,000 or less per year than any other group. But it may also be a question of priorities. Despite their relatively low earning power, 18-24 year olds were less likely to report cutting down on socialising than either 25-34 or 35-44 year olds.

How does the USA compare to the UK?

This data is extremely concerning, but it also sheds light on the differences between countries. Another survey of 2,791 UK adults found that 50% had skipped a meal due to the cost of living. 

While this doesn’t diminish the significance of American adults’ struggles, it does help put the data into perspective. Our survey suggests that there is still time to curb the cost of living crisis in America – and avoid reaching the extreme situation that has been reached in the UK.

This data helps to clarify the situation in the USA and hopefully will help put pressure on Governments and businesses to offer greater support to the public. Nobody should have to go without food, and there may be grave long-term consequences if financial pressures lead a large number of people to be undernourished.

Jonathan Merry, CEO of MoneyTransfers.com
Toby McInnis
Written by
Toby McInnis

Toby McInnis is a writer based in London. He works with some of the fastest growing startups in the world, covering industries as diverse as finance, technology, logistics and healthcare.