Weekly Pulse Polling: American’s Get Flunking Grade on Economic Literacy

When it comes to financial literacy and knowledge of the economy, Americans need more education.

March 14, 2019

Washington, DC (March 14, 2019) – Economic literacy has been in the news a lot lately, with some high-profile politicians demonstrating the need for some basic financial understanding. However, recent Job Creators Network/ScottRasmussen.com polling shows that the general public has a poor understanding of economic and personal finance topics as well, with a majority of Americans flunking five out of ten basic questions.

Questions revealed:

  • 75 percent of people underestimated how long it would take to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt if you only paid the minimum.
  • Only 27 percent of people knew how large the federal debt is expected to be in 2019.
  • 60 percent of people didn’t know that a rise in the minimum wage would reduce the number of minimum wage jobs.
  • Only 22 percent of people knew that the unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans was at an all-time low.

On the bright side, a majority of Americans understood the basics of supply and demand, tax deductions, credit scores, and fixed mortgage rates.

The public can take the quiz online at our InformationStation.org website, here.

“Our quiz shows that American’s definitely need more financial and economic education,” said Elaine Parker, President of the Job Creators Network Foundation. “It shows that our schools and the media are failing their job in informing the public about the broad issues that affect policy and their own wallets.”   

Other poll questions showed American optimism about the job market continues to be strong, with 51 percent of people saying that the US economy is excellent or good, versus 13 percent saying it is poor.

It’s extremely important for people to have strong economic literacy,” said pollster Scott Rasmussen. “If people don’t have the facts on their finances or the economy they can’t make informed decisions about public policy.”

Other polling questions this week included:
How would you rate the US economy today? Excellent (12%), Good (39%), Fair (32%), Poor (13%), Not sure (4%).

Is the economy getting better or worse? Better (36%), Worse (26%), About the same (33%), Not sure (5%).

Okay, how would you rate your own personal finances these days? Excellent (12%), Good (39%), Fair (31%), Poor (17%), Not sure (2%).

Are your personal finances getting better or worse? Better (33%), Worse (17%), About the same (48%), Not sure (3%).

Are companies in your area more likely to be hiring new workers or laying off existing workers? Hiring new workers (43%), Laying off existing workers (22%), Not sure (30%).

For historic data on these economic questions visit: JCNPulse.com

Download full crosstabs on all of this week’s questions:
https://polls.jcnf.org/app/uploads/2019/03/JCN_Crosstabs_March_11-12_2019.xlsx

This ScottRasmussen.com/HarrisX poll of 2,249 US adults was conducted March 4-5, and 11-12, 2019. For more information about the Job Creators Network, please visit www.JobCreatorsNetwork.com.