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2022 Cost of Living Survey by MoneyTransfers.com

2022 Cost of Living Survey by MoneyTransfers.com

  • Published: 26th November 2022

Between November 1st and 7th, 2022, MoneyTransfers.com surveyed 2,000 American adults on their views on the cost of living crisis. Our cost of living survey reveals data on everything between salaries and the sacrifices that American adults have been forced to make due to the rising cost of living all the way to their planned spending for this Christmas’s gifts, all observed in the context of age, gender, and regional demographics. Read on for the findings.

Cost of Living Crisis in the US – The Highlights

  • Amid the cost of living crisis, the average salary of American adults is $48,627.7.
  • 36% of US adults are planning to spend more on Christmas gifts this year.
  • Americans who plan to spend less on Christmas gifts intend to do so by 30%.
  • 34% of US adults report increased spending as a result of the cost of living crisis.
  • 37% of Americans say they’re saving as much as they did prior to the cost of living crisis.
  • 25% of Americans say they’re investing less than they did prior to the cost of living crisis.
  • 55% of Americans are worried about job security to some extent.
  • Nearly a fifth of US adults have been skipping meals due to the cost of living crisis.

NB: You will see that some of the numbers in the tables are formatted blue (with an up arrow) or red (with a down arrow)—these indicate that the statistic in that cell is significantly above (or below) the average for all respondents.

Annual Salaries Amid the US Cost of Living Crisis

While the average salary of American adults is $48,627.7, only 8% of them have annual earnings in the $45,001-$50,000 range. 

At 13%, the highest portion of respondents earns $80,001 or more a year, while the second-highest share, or 10%, earn $20,000 or less, closely followed by those earning $20,001-$30,000 per year, at 9%.

At 6% each, the least populated income groups in our survey consist of those whose annual salaries are in the $30,001-$35,000 or $40,001-$45,000 range. An equal portion doesn’t work, while 3% of respondents would not disclose their annual salary.

Yearly Salaries Across Different Age Groups

Our cost of living survey reveals that the highest earners are part of the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups, with respective 16% and 18% of these demographics earning $80,001 or more a year. In fact, those between 35 and 44 years old also have the highest annual salary average of $53,522, and a combined 16% of them make up to $35,000, which is the lowest among all age demographics. 

At $39,309.3, the lowest average annual salary belongs to those between 18 and 24 years old. The highest portion, or 22%, of them earns $20,000 or less a year. On the other end of the spectrum, only 5% of 18-to-24-year-olds earn $80,001 or more, and an equal portion earns $55,001-$70,000. 

Interestingly, 11% of this age group makes $70,001-$80,000 a year, making up the third most populated income group among them, closely following the 14% who make $20,001-$30,000 a year.

Cost of living trends from our survey reveal that, at 2% of each, 25-34 and 35-44-year-olds make up the smallest demographics of those who do not work. The highest portion of the first, or 12%, however, earns $80,001 or more per year. 

Among those between 55 and 64, a combined 30% make under $30,000 a year (second only to 18-24-year olds), and 15% do not work. The highest portion, or 21%, of those who don’t work, are in the 65 or older age group. Among those who do, however, equal 13%-portions make either up to $20,000 or $80,001 or more per year. 

The Gender Pay Gap Amid the Cost of Living Crisis

The highest portion, or 19%, of male American adults earn $80,001 or more yearly. This compares to only 9% of women. Among female adults in the US, the highest portion of 15% earns $20,000 or less, compared to only 5% of men.

Cost of living facts from our survey reveal that, at 11% each, the second most populated income brackets among male and female US adults are accounted by those earning $70,001-$80,000 and $20,001-$30,000 per year, respectively. 

All of the above brings about a staggering 26.7% pay gap in favor of men. Namely, the average salary among male Americans is $55,183.6 a year, while among women, the corresponding figure is $43,527.9.

Annual Salaries Across Different Regions

Cost of living stats from our survey reveal that residents of the West earn the highest average annual salary of $53,383.4, with the highest portion of them, or 18%, making $80,001 or more. Those in the Northeast follow closely with an annual salary average of $51,526.9, and the highest 16%-portion of them earning $80,001 or more.

On the other end of the spectrum, residents of the Southeast earn the lowest average annual salary of $43,164, with the highest portion of them, or a combined 28%, making up to $30,000, which is the highest across all five regions. Those in the Southwest have an annual salary average of $46,563, while residents of the Midwest earn closest to the national average, at $48,365.9.

Christmas Gift Spending Over the Cost of Living Crisis

Our cost of living increase statistics reveal that 36% of US adults are planning to spend more on Christmas gifts this year. Across demographics, the highest portions who agree with this are among groups who are among the top-earners, i.e., 47% of 35-44-year-olds, an equal portion of men, and 46% of Americans living in the Northeast. In comparison, only 12% of 55-64-year-olds, 28% of women, and 26% of Southeastern residents plan to spend more on Christmas gifts this year.

Our cost of living statistics further reveal that 30% of Americans estimate spending the same as they usually do on Christmas gifts this year. Such estimates are highest among those 65 or older at 49%, women at 34%, and residents of the Midwest at 34%. Conversely, 23% of those aged between 25 and 34 years old estimate spending the same as usual on Christmas gifts this year, and so do 25% of men and 23% of US adults living in the Northeast.

As a result of the cost of living rising, 29% of American adults plan to spend less on Christmas gifts this year. Across demographics, the highest portions who aim for this are among groups in lower income brackets, i.e., 35% of 55-to-64-year-olds, 33% of women, and 36% of Southeastern residents. In contrast, 24% of those aged between 18 and 24 plan to spend less on Christmas gifts this year, and so do 25% of men and an equal portion of US adults living in the West.

Respective 3% and 2% of Americans are skipping Christmas gifts altogether this year and don’t celebrate or buy gifts at Christmas.

Due to the cost of living crisis in 2022, US adults are planning to spend an average of 30% less on Christmas gifts this year compared to what they usually do. While 6% don’t know how much less they would spend, the highest portion, or 24%, of Americans plan to spend 21%-30% less, and only 4% plan to reduce their Christmas gift spending by 61% or more.

On average, 45-to-54-year-olds are reducing their Christmas gift spending the most, planning to spend 34.6% less on Christmas gifts this year than they usually do. Conversely, those aged between 18 and 24 plan to spend 23.6% less on average. Interestingly, the average annual salaries of 45-54 vs 18-24-year-olds are $49,696.9 and $39,309.3, respectively.

There’s no substantial difference when it comes to genders and how much they would trim their spending on Christmas gifts as a cost of living adjustment in 2022. On average, women plan to do so by 30.7%, while the corresponding figure for men is 29.2%. Among female Americans, 84% plan to spend up to 50% less on Christmas gifts this year, which compares to 87% of male ones.

Region-wise, Southeasterners plan to reduce this year’s Christmas gift spending slightly more than the national average, at 31.4%. Northeasterners are on the other end of the spectrum, planning to spend 29.2% less. Only 4% of Western residents plan to reduce this year’s Christmas gift spending by 51% or more, while the same applies to equal 11%-portions of residents of the Northeast and Southwest.

What Americans Have Been Forced to Sacrifice Due to the Rising Costs of Living

The majority, or 49%, of US adults have been cutting down on general social activities due to the cost of living increase. This figure is much higher among 25-to-34-year-olds at 57%, men at 53%, and Southwesterners at 52%. Conversely, 42% of those aged 65 or older have been cutting down on general social activities due to the cost of living crisis, and the same applies to 46% of women and 47% of Westerners.

Across all respondents in our cost of living crisis survey, 19% have been skipping meals due to the cost of living crisis. Age-wise, this is most common among 18-to-24-year-olds at 23% and least common among those aged 65 or older at 8%. In terms of gender, 33% of those with non-binary or alternative identities have been skipping meals, and the same applies to 19% of women and 17% of men. At 24%, skipping meals is the most common in the Northeast and least common in the Southeast and Southwest at 14% each.

Due to the cost of living raise, 10% of Americans have sold their cars. At 15%, this is most common among 35-to-44-year-olds and least common among those aged 65 or older at 2%. Regarding gender, 33% of those with non-binary or alternative identities have sold their cars, and the same applies to equal 10%-portions of men and women. Region-wise, 12% of Southeasterners have sold their cars, which compares to 8% among residents of the West and Midwest each.

As a result of the high cost of living, 4% of US adults have made the sacrifice of selling their houses. This figure is higher among 35-to-44-year-olds and Westerners, at 6% each. Conversely, only 1% of 55-to-64-year-olds and those aged 65 or older, have sold their houses, and the same applies to 2% of Midwesterners. Gender-wise, 4% of men have made this sacrifice, while the corresponding figure among women is one percentage point lower.

Among US adults, 16% say they haven’t made any particular sacrifices due to the cost of living crisis. At a whopping 40%, this sentiment is strongest among those aged 65 or older. Conversely, only 7% of 25-to-34-year-olds could say the same. Compared to 18% of women, 14% of men agree they haven’t made any particular sacrifices due to the cost of living crisis. At 19%, not making any particular sacrifices due to the rising cost of living is most common in the Southeast, and least common in the Northeast at 12%.

3% of respondents to our cost of living survey mentioned other types of sacrifices, examples of which include: buying fewer groceries, clothes, etc., buying cheaper options and using coupons, driving less, living with in-laws or roommates, and more. 

The Rising Costs of Living and Fear of Job Loss

While 4% didn’t provide an answer, the majority, or 30%, of our cost of living crisis survey respondents are somewhat worried about losing their jobs. At 43%, this sentiment is strongest among 25-to-34-year-olds. Region-wise, the largest discrepancy emerges between Midwesterners and Southwesterners, where 34% and 25% are somewhat afraid of losing their jobs, respectively.

The portion of Americans who are very worried about losing their jobs during the current cost of living increase is 25%. This attitude is strongest among 25-to-34 and 35-to-44-year-olds at 31% and 30%, respectively. Gender-wise, 27% of men are very worried about losing their jobs, in comparison to 23% of women. In regard to regions, the Northeast stands out the most, where 33% are very afraid of losing their jobs, which applies to only 19% of those in the Southeast.

The portion of US adults who are not at all worried about losing their jobs during the 2022 cost of living increase is 23%. At 65% and 51%, respectively, this sentiment is strongest among those aged 65 or older and 55-64-year-olds, which are also the age groups most populated with people who don’t work. In contrast, only 9% and 13% of 25-to-34 and 35-to-44-year-olds are as carefree in this regard. The portions of men and women who are not worried at all about losing their jobs are 21% and 24%, respectively. Regarding regions, only 18% of Northeasterners are carefree in this regard, which compares to equal 26%-portions of Southeasterners and Southwesterners.

Not being very worried about losing their jobs is an attitude shared by 18% of adults in the US. Those aged between 18 and 24 stand out the most, at 24%. Followed by 33% of non-binary or alternative identities, the men-to-women ratio in this regard stands at 19% vs 17%.

Spending Habits During the Cost of Living Crisis

The majority, or 34%, of respondents to our cost of living survey report increased spending as a result of the cost of living crisis, while equal 32%-portions report spending the same or less, and 1% don’t know their spending differences.

At 42%, increased spending is most common in the 35-44 age group, as well as Northeasterners and men at 41% of each. In contrast, 28% of women report increased spending, and so do 23% of Sourtheasterners and 22% of those aged between 55 and 64.

At 48%, decreased spending as a cost of living adjustment is most common in the 55-64 age group, as well as 42% of Southwesterners. Conversely, decreased spending is least common in the 35-44 age group at 21% and the West at 24%. Additionally, 67% of Americans with non-binary or alternative identities report decreased spending, and so did 37% of women and 26% of men.

Saving Habits During the Cost of Living Crisis

The majority, or 37%, of our cost of living crisis survey respondents, report saving the same as before. While 5% either don’t know their saving differences or are not saving to begin with, 32% are saving less, while 26% report saving more than before. 

Among those who are managing to save more, 18-24 and 25-34 emerge as the dominant age groups, with 37% and 34% of them reporting increased savings, respectively. The same applies to 32% of male Americans and 29% of those in the Northeast.

Amind the cost of living increase in 2022, 43% of US adults in the 35-44 age group report saving the same as before, which compares to 27% of 55-to-64-year-olds. The same applies to 39% vs 35% of women and men, as well as 40% of Americans in the Northeast vs 32% in the Southeast.

Among those who are saving less, 55-64 and those aged 65 or older emerge as the dominant age groups, with 45% and 49% of them reporting decreased savings, respectively. The same applies to 37% of female US adults and 35% of those in the Midwest and Southeast.

Investing Habits During the Cost of Living Crisis

The majority, or 34%, of respondents to our cost of living survey are investing the same as they did prior to the cost of living crisis. While 17% don’t know their investing differences or are not investing in the first place, 23% invest more, while 25% do so less. 

Among those who invest more, 25-34 and 35-44 emerge as the dominant age groups, with 29% and 20% of them reporting increased investments, respectively. The same applies to equal 27%-portions of men and Westerners.

During the cost of living raise in 2022, 40% of Americans in the 35-44 age group report investing the same as before, which compares to 24% of 55-to-64-year-olds. The same applies to 30% vs 40% of women and men, as well as 43% of adults in the Northeast vs 27% in the Southeast.

Among those who are investing less, those aged 65 or older emerge as the dominant age group with 34% of them reporting decreased investments. The same applies to 26% of female US adults and 31% of those in the Midwest.

Respondents’ Demographic Profile

About a third of our cost of living crisis survey respondents are aged between 35 and 44, while a quarter is 25 to 34 years old. Respective 13% and 12% of respondents belong to the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups. The smallest age demographics of respondents are those 65 or older and 18-to-24-year-olds, at 9% and 7%, respectively.

In terms of gender identification, 56% of respondents identify as women and 43% as men. The remaining 1% accounts for respondents who identify as non-binary or alternative identities and those who prefer not to say.

Region-wise, the highest portion, or 26%, of our survey respondents, is from the Northeast, closely followed by the Southeast at 23%. Another 21% of respondents are from the Midwest, while the West and Southwest account for the smallest shares, at 17% and 12%, respectively.

Hristina Nikolovska

An internship in a digital marketing agency during her freshman year of university got Tina into SEO. A decade later, she’s utilizing her educational background in English and knack for research to craft website content on anything from marketing and tech to finance and crypto. When she’s not investigating ways to dominate SERPs, you’ll find her randomly roaming cities and sunny coasts all over the world.