Broke And Getting Broker: 22 Jaw Dropping Statistics About The Financial Condition Of American Families

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Most American families are really struggling in this economy and they see most of the families around them really struggling, but they don’t have any hard numbers to back up the feelings of economic despair that they are experiencing.  Well, below you will find 22 statistics that prove that American families are broke and getting broker.  Today, the financial condition of most middle class families is rapidly deteriorating.  The number of good jobs is declining, incomes are down, debt loads are up and bankruptcies and foreclosures just continue to increase.  If you step back and really examine the statistics, it becomes really hard to deny that American families are getting poorer.  Well, the wealthiest 5 percent are still thriving, but everyone else is really having a tough time.  The truth is that a large percentage of the U.S. middle class is slowly but surely going broke.  Unfortunately, this is being caused by long-term economic trends that simply are not going to be fixed overnight.


Most Americans had just assumed that the United States would always have a dominant, prosperous economy.  But in the world we live in today there are no guarantees.

The era when almost anyone could find a good job is over.  Millions of good jobs have already left the United States, and vast numbers of legal and illegal workers have been shipped in to the country to compete for the jobs that are still here.

There are millions of Americans that would give just about anything for a good job right about now.  But the good jobs are very few and far between at this point.

Every day there is more depressing news.  For example, a recent job fair in Massachusetts was shut down because of a lack of jobs.

In fact, with jobs so scarce these days, more Americans than ever are willing to work for free.

This is not just a “recession” or an “economic downturn”.  The U.S. economy is fundamentally changing for the worse.  Millions of American families are already experiencing economic despair and millions more will be experiencing it very soon.

The following are 22 jaw dropping statistics about the financial condition of American families….

#1 In 2010, one out of every eight American families had at least one family member that was unemployed.  In fact, the figure for 2010 was the highest it has been since the U.S. Labor Department began keeping track of this statistic back in 1994.

#2 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 8 million Americans are working part-time jobs because they can’t get full-time jobs.

#3 There are now more than 6 million Americans that the government says have given up looking for work completely.

#4 After accounting for inflation, the average income for an American family has fallen 5 percent since the year 2000.

#5 According to the New York Times, as of 2009 the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans had 63.5 percent of all the wealth in America.  Meanwhile, the bottom 80 percent had just 12.8 percent of all the wealth.

#6 During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#7 According to the Federal Reserve, between 2007 and 2009 median household net worth in the United States fell by 23 percent.

#8 The Federal Reserve also says that median household debt in the United States has risen to $75,600.

#9 Total U.S. credit card debt is more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

#10 Today, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

#11 Of U.S. households that have credit card debt, the average amount owed on credit cards is $15,788.

#12 Americans now owe more than $887 billion on student loans, which is even more than they owe on credit cards.

#13 A staggering 25 percent of all American adults now have a credit score below 599.

#14 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#15 American workers that are unemployed are nearly twice as likely to have been told by a doctor or a nurse that they suffer from depression.

#16 In 2010, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.

#17 According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 45 U.S. households was hit with a foreclosure filing in 2010.

#18 U.S. home values have fallen an astounding 6.3 trillion dollars since the peak of the real estate market.  Most of that pain has been felt by ordinary American families.

#19 Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

#20 According to a survey released very close to the end of 2010, 55 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.

#21 1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2010.  That represented the fourth yearly increase in bankruptcy filings in a row.

#22 As 2007 began, only about 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but today over 44 million Americans are on food stamps which is an all-time record high.

  • mondobeyondo

    The last few drops of blood are being squeezed out of the middle class turnip.

  • US politicians will not get their house in order until it burns to the ground. This is what the fire will look like:

  • paulie

    Raise min. wage, shorten work week, end IRS, and nationalize the Federal Reserve. None of theses will happen though.

  • Gary2

    Michael-I do not know how many times I need to keep saying that we need to tax the rich and spread the wealth. Many many people are starting to agree with me. In a recent poll 81% of the respondents said we need to tax the rich more before cutting any programs for the poor.

    Also look at the rising popularity of the US UNCUT movement to highlight corporations who do not pay taxes. Just think of what the country could have done with the tax rebate BOA got instead of paying taxes. Or the scumbag GE who paid no taxes. This is so disgusting that we give tax cuts to the rich and cut programs for the poor such as WIC Head Start etc.

  • The III (3rd)

    We are witnessing the biggest transfer of wealth in world history. Those who steal from the rich go to jail(Madoff). Those who steal from the poor go to the top of the food chain(The Fed, Goldman Sachs and their Wall Street friends).

    – The III

  • ken

    Hey Gary, 99% of human beings will say yes if you ask them if they want something for nothing. So what? That doesn’t mean you can structure a workable system of governance or resource allocation around that. You want to disincentivize the rewards for hard work and risk-taking, and instead reward giving people something for sitting on their ass? Good luck with what results from that..

  • Strato

    Well…I like this one:

    And this in TIME. Astounding.

    • Admin

      I agree – that cartoon really sums the situation up well.


  • William

    Well, America, you are getting what you voted for. The real collpase began with Ronnie Raygun in 1981. As with the Smirking Chimp and war criminal Bush, Raygun gave America tax cuts that the nation could not afford. Huge deficits soon appeared. (Carter’s last budget was about a Billion dollars in deficit for a whole year……we waste that much in a couple of days in Iraq and Afghanistan). How many of you were yahooing and high-fiving when the bombs and missiles were raining down on Bagdhad?? Not so funny now, is it? Iraq was NOT involved in 911 and had no WMD. The Iraq war is just a pile of Shrub Bush lies that has cost a TRILLION dollars. And, now, QE1 bailed out the criminal banksters of Wall St, QE2 is bailing out the federal government (FED buying US debt by the truckloads), and soon QE3 will arrive, resulting in stunning inflation. Maybe you need to vote OUT your idiot in the US House, or US Senate that helped create this nightmare.

  • I may be only one person but when many do it, it could have an impact.
    Only buy what you absoutely have to. Don’t support any bank that is involved with the bailouts and the same with the businesses.

  • Howard Glen Martinez

    I’m Living the American Dream … Highly Educated and Highly Unemployed.

  • Security

    Sunday going to the discount grocery store I came across something I have never seen and thought I would never see it. I had to rub my eyes I was so amazed. Right there standing on the sidewalk with a hungry and homeless sign was an attractive, young white woman begging for handouts. I never thought I would see a young attractive white woman begging on the street like that. I know things are bad but i didn’t ever think I would witness that.

  • Golden Child

    “I’m Living the American Dream … Highly Educated and Highly Unemployed.”

    So true, yet so sad. America’s faux prosperity over the past few decades has been fueled by an overabundance of credit and rising debt that was completely unsustainable. Instead of complaining about stagnant wages over the last 30 years, formerly middle class Americans simply ran up their credit cards and forced their wives to get careers. The anomaly of an ever-expanding economy erroneously instilled the belief for middle class Americans to pursue prestigious sedentary white collar office work through going to college all while once respectable work like construction, landscaping, the entire fast food industry, agriculture and maintenance have all been monopolized by illegal immigrants. Not to mention, millions of manufacturing jobs and white collar jobs have been outsourced overseas. It doesn’t pay to be American anymore. You will be hard pressed to find an illegal immigrant or an foreign Indian visa holder that is unemployed. Sad times.

  • Stray Cat

    Sunday going to the discount grocery store I came across something I have never seen and thought I would never see it. I had to rub my eyes I was so amazed. Right there standing on the sidewalk with a hungry and homeless sign was an attractive, young white woman begging for handouts. I never thought I would see a young attractive white woman begging on the street like that. I know things are bad but i didn’t ever think I would witness that.

    So did you offer to buy her a meal or what? In other words, did you DO SOMETHING to ease her suffering or did you just shake your head and walk on?

  • Cabriael

    >Stray Cat
    So did you offer to buy her a meal or what? In other words, did you DO SOMETHING to ease her suffering or did you just shake your head and walk on?

    At least that woman had the decency to beg, for the moment.

    During an economic depression of 1920s Berlin, the stone lion in the main street of that city would roar if it saw a virgin.

  • Security

    Stray Cat, I gave her all my spare change. Well, it really wasn’t spare cause I haven’t worked in like five years but I had to drive by and take a look at her close up. I thought she might be a college student doing the begging thing for some psych class, but you could tell she was quite embarrassed to be out there begging so I think it was legit.
    What has this country come to? we extend tax cuts to the rich but cut home heating assistance to the poor and elderly and now we are spending money fighting in libya.

  • Them “humble, innocent, unfortunate” young white women are going to be doing a whole lot more than just “holding their hands out” as this cataclysm progresses.

    Just sayin’

  • The system has long abetted and glorified rent seeking over value-added production, which is hindered and taxed heavily and long declined from pre-eminence in the world. We allow ourselves to be reduced to blowing the next bubble, the next debt-financed government program, and the chains are encircling us.

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. For details, visit

  • Uncle B

    Corporations own all the good farmland, family farms were coerced to sell a long time ago. Huge urban populations, totally job dependent, totally corporate dependent,without any other means of survival, now face unemployment, under-employment, starvation.
    America’s highly touted ‘Democracy’ has cancer! Corporatist, Capitalist, cancer, curable only with very sickening injections of Socialism, communism, nationalization, political upheaval, paradigm shifts, that may even kill the nation.
    Look to Canada, Sweden, even China for success stories, more even distribution of wealth. Some, well educated, particularly bright Americans have moved on to greener pastures, to other countries, even China. Pitiful brain-drain!
    Capitalism,Corporatism run a sad course. Soon, a very fat, white, financier will share all America’s bounty with the Chinese, leaving the rest of American proletariat pressured to become precariat. Not part of the great propagandists American Dream at all! We see now, the Bull Shiite that made others rich at our expense, but it is too late to change.
    are we witnessing the latter days of the last, the greatest, Caucasian empire the world will ever know?

  • James H

    To the Economic Elite, we poor people are just expendable obsolete masses who donn a military uniform to go to war to fight for (their) financial interests. And they need a vote or two from us, but even that is being rendered obsolete, because even the people you vote in are led around by the yoke by lobbyists and mind-boggling financial contributions from Big Business. I truly believe the Economic Elite would like nothing more than the economic frustrations to come to a head and for the poor to go to war against each other and kill each other off. Thanks to the Propaganda Machine (corporate controlled Mass Media), we are constantly decieved who the actual enemy really is.

  • Debra

    James H. is correct. We are becoming a fascist regime and the transformation is nearly complete.

  • IndiaPower

    Now you Americans are paying for all the sins you committed by sending your Armed Forces around the world and they killed hundreds of thousands of people.
    I do not have any empathy nor sympathy towards the crisis going on now in the USA.
    Live by the sword and thou shall die by the sword.
    Go on !!!
    Become bankrupt … suffer …
    India and China are now the lands of dreams.
    The Asian Dreams …