12/11/08 – In the Midst of Economic Crisis, New Survey Finds Most Americans Don’t Understand Basic Economics
Survey Demonstrates Unprecedented Need for More Economic and Financial Education
WASHINGTON DC – The Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy (CEEL), www.econ4u.org, today released a new survey that underscores the need for increased education on personal finance and economic issues. The national survey conducted last week shows that an overwhelming number of Americans are unable to answer some of the most basic questions about borrowing, interest rates, terminology, and even basic math. More troubling is that many Americans admit to making poor decisions with their own personal finances.
Highlights from the survey include:
- 54% of respondents could not identify what a subprime mortgage was.
- 56% of respondents could not identify FICO score as the most important factor in getting a loan.
- 65% of respondents could not identify what would remain if you subtracted 25% from 8. One in three respondents could not identify what 1% of 50,000 was.
- 75% did not know that when in need of short-term emergency cash, bouncing a check costs more than wire transfers, credit card advances, and short-term payday loans.
- Half of respondents have overdrafted their checking account at one time, while a third of respondents have paid a bill late in the past year.
- 35% of respondents admitted to not having a family or personal budget that would allow them to conceivably eliminate their credit card debt by the end of 2009.
More details can be found at www.econ4u.org.
Next week CEEL will release a special Christmas economic literacy survey that further illustrates Americans‘ lack of knowledge regarding their personal finances this holiday season.
“Economic illiteracy is at the heart of our current economic crisis,” said James Bowers, managing director for CEEL. “Many Americans find themselves knee-deep in mortgages that are far too expensive and that they don’t understand. It’s troubling to see just how deep adult economic illiteracy runs. A majority of Americans don’t understand the most basic facts about the economic crisis and many don’t have the tools to manage their personal finances.”
“It is clear that we need to increase personal finance education for adults so we have better informed employees, borrowers, and voters.”
This press release presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation among 1,004 adults living in private households in the continental United States.
Find more fast facts about personal finance and take our economics quizzes at www.econ4u.org.