What Are Most Americans Stressed About? It’s Not Hard to Guess

February 7, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

If you’re having trouble paying your bills you aren’t alone. A recent survey found that money is the No. 1 stress factor for adults in the United States.

The American Psychological Association (APA) surveyed 3,000 adults from around the U.S. last August, interviewing different generations of Americans.

Almost three-fourths of Americans said they were stressed about money during the previous month. About 22 percent said they felt “extreme stress” about money.

Another 26 percent said they were stressed out about finances most of the time. And 54 percent said they have “just enough” or “not enough” money to make ends meet.

“Significant sources of money-related stress reported by Americans include paying for unexpected expenses (54 percent said very or somewhat significant), paying for essentials (44 percent said very or somewhat significant) and saving for retirement (44 percent said very or somewhat significant),” the report from the APA said.

But it added that Americans have attempted to do something about it.

“The majority of Americans have taken steps to live more economically by shopping during sales
or using coupons (53 percent), cooking more at home (52 percent) and cutting back on non-essentials (51 percent),” it reads.

The survey found that 32 percent said their financial situation prevents “them from living a healthy lifestyle.”

“Regardless of the role money plays in creating stress for the majority of Americans, people appear to have a positive attitude about finances: 80 percent say they have confidence in their ability to manage their money and 71 percent say they have a healthy relationship with money,” it states.

Around 71 percent said that having more money or income would make them feel happier.

The survey also found there’s an increasing wealth gap in the U.S. “In 2007, average reported stress levels were the same regardless of income, but now, those living in lower-income households report higher overall stress levels than those living in higher-income households.”