Financial Fragility during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Financial Fragility during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the US economy was closed to limit the virus’ spread, and several emergency interventions were implemented. Our analysis of older (45-75) respondents fielded in April-May of 2020 indicates that about one in five respondents was financially fragile and would have difficulty facing a mid-size emergency expense.

Some subgroups were at particular risk of facing financial difficulties, especially younger respondents, those with larger families, Hispanics, and the low income. Moreover, the more financially literate were better able to handle such shocks, indicating that knowledge can provide some additional protection during a pandemic.

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Adults COVID-19 Financial Fragility Spending


Annamaria Lusardi

Academic Director, Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC)

Olivia S. Mitchell

IFEBP Professor The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Robert L. Clark

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United States





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