New data reveal that a big majority of Americans were doing better financially under year one of the Trump Administration thanks to a strong jobs market and rising wages. Fewer Americans feel like they are hanging on by a thread and finding it difficult to get by. Despite this good news, the rapid spread of the opioid crisis is a plague on too many American homes.  

According to survey results from the Federal Reserve74 percent of Americans said they were living comfortably or doing okay financially in 2017, up 10 percent from 2013. Nevertheless, perceptions vary demographically and regionally. 

Four in ten Americans can't withstand a $400 unexpected expense, but even that has fallen from half than in 2013.

This contributes to the growing body of evidence that the robust economy is improving life for American households. According to recent Gallup polling, 67 percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S., and that is the highest percentage in the 17 years that the company has been polling on optimism. 

Researchers explain:

"This year's survey finds that rising levels of employment are translating into improved financial conditions for many but not all Americans, with one third now reporting they are living comfortably and another 40 percent reporting they are doing ok financially."

Here are some key findings:

  • Over three-fourths of whites versus less than two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics were at least doing okay financially in 2017.

  • Three in five urban residents versus two in five rural residents describe the economy in their local community as good or excellent.

  • Over one-fifth of adults are not able to pay all of their current month’s bills in full.

  • Three in 10 adults participated in the gig economy in 2017, up slightly over the past year due to an increase in gig activities that are not computer or internet-based, such as child care or house cleaning.

  • Two-thirds of college graduates feel that their educational investment paid off compared to less than one-third of those who started but did not complete a degree.

  • Less than two-fifths of non-retired adults think that their retirement savings are on track, and one fourth doesn't have retirement savings or pension.

Interestingly, researchers explore the connection between people who have been exposed to the opioid crisis and their perceptions of the economy or their personal financial situation. They found that while over half of adults exposed to the opioid addiction rate that their local economy as good or excellent, their assessment of economic conditions is less favorable than those who have not been exposed to it

Americans are feeling the impacts of good economic policy. The next question is how we can ensure different communities and demographics reap the benefits that their fellow Americans are experiencing? A major element that cannot be left out of the conversation though is the opioid crisis.