pot boiling over

Over Nine in 10 Americans Say the Economy and Cost of Living Are Having an Impact

WASHINGTON, DC, AUGUST 09, 2022 — Economic issues are top concerns now and in the future, but more than half of Americans are most worried about societal issues such as climate change and abortion laws in the long-term.

Americans have a full agenda of important issues that are impacting them today as well as concerns for the future. Inflation burst into consciousness near the end of 2021 and has quickly become the dominant issue, displacing the pandemic for most Americans as both an immediately relevant stressor and a longer-term concern.

The 2022 Mindset and Motivations Survey of Americans, released today by Artemis Strategy Group, reveals that concerns about the economy top an already-large list of important issues. Each of the 10 issues measured has an impact on some American families, with even the least-impactful issue having a large impact on over one-fifth of American families — representing over 66 million people.

While most Americans are feeling the impact of the economy (93%) and cost of living (92%) on themselves and their family, over three in four also feel the impact of national elections (82%) as well as the continuing pandemic (78%).

The six additional issues that have a large or moderate impact on American families are:

  • The upcoming U.S. 2022 mid-term elections: 77%
  • Climate change: 68%
  • Gun laws: 65%
  • Race relations: 57%
  • The war in Ukraine: 56%
  • Abortion laws: 51%

“If we envision a pot boiling over, that’s what it feels like for many Americans today,” said Anne Aldrich, Partner at Artemis Strategy Group. “This sense of ‘issue overload’ helps explain the national opinion polls’ measures, which show large portions of Americans thinking the country is on the wrong track.”

Half of Americans Are Worried About Issues Other than The Economy for the Long-Term

Climate, guns and abortion are issues of some salience now, but they grow in importance when people think about the future. When asked to select their top issue of concern for the long-term, one-quarter (27%) cite the cost of living and 20% say the U.S. economy. Climate change ranks third at 10%, followed by abortion laws at 9%, the U.S. 2024 Presidential election at 7% and gun laws at 7%.

“With such a large array of significant issues, it’s helpful to understand variations in priorities,” said Christine LePottier, Partner at Artemis Strategy Group. “While economic issues are a widespread pain point, different parts of the population are equally or more concerned about social issues over the long-term.”

Differences in Concern about Long Term Issues Emerge by Political Affiliation

Republicans are much more likely to be most concerned about economic issues and secondarily the 2024 election, particularly those who identify as Trump Republicans. Democrats are as concerned about climate change and abortion laws as they are the economy, and Independents are focused on the cost of living.

Impact of COVID Tied to Greater Impact of Economic and Social Issues

One out of three (31%) Americans report the impact of COVID-19 as substantial and permanent in their lives. Four out of ten (41%) say the impact was substantial but life has returned to normal, and for 28% the impact was minimal.

Looking at the 10 economic and social issues measured in this study through the lens of the impact of COVID reveals the long-lasting impact of the pandemic. The 31% who experienced a substantial and permanent impact from COVID were far more likely to experience a large impact on themselves or their family on all 10 issues.

About the Survey:

We conducted the Mindset and Motivations Survey of Americans online among 1,885 adults 18+ from July 7–18, 2022. Overall demographic targets were set to obtain a sample reflective of the U.S. adult population based on Census data.

To learn more about the survey and review additional findings, download the report here [PDF].