by | May 11, 2022 | Surveys

Key Takeaways:

  • 32.8% of Americans are feeling the impacts of inflation on their grocery bill more than anywhere else
  • Inflation is hurting women more than men at the grocery store; men more than women at the gas station
  • Young Americans aged 25 to 34 are over twice as likely to find that housing costs were the most inflation-hit compared to retirement-aged Americans 
  • Men find that inflation has hit harder at the gas pump (32.8% vs. 27%)
  • Women find that their grocery bills have been hardest hit by inflation (38.2%)
  • Younger respondents (aged 44 and under) think gas prices have been most impacted by inflation (27.9%)
  • Older respondents (aged 45 and older) think groceries have been most impacted by inflation (36.5%)
  • Survey results affirm gender-based stereotypes and sexist expectations about women’s and men’s spheres of labor and responsibility

Graph depicting survey results

Figure 1. Source: Google Surveys 

A plurality of Americans (32.8%) believe that today’s inflation rate of 8.3% has impacted their lives at the grocery checkout aisle more than anywhere else. 

According to a nationwide survey published by Sophisticated Investor on May 11th, 2022, nearly one-third of Americans are most impacted by the rising cost of groceries, whereas 30.9% believe that gasoline prices have carried a higher toll on their lives. 

The consumer price index (CPI), a statistical tool for measuring the change in prices of consumer goods, is currently at its highest rate in over 40 years. Given the staggering decline of the dollar’s purchasing power, it is of critical importance that survey data examine exactly how inflation is changing the lives of ordinary Americans. 

May 2022 Survey: Nearly 1 in 3 Americans Face Greater Sticker Shock at the Supermarket than Anywhere Else

The average annual grocery bill for American families, according to U.S. News, is $4,643, which is roughly $397 on a per-month basis. This figure, however, comes from the most recent official data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—which happens to use 2019 price data. 

In the three years since this report was released, the prices of almost all consumer goods have risen considerably. For instance, the average family’s yearly budget increased by $5,200 or more between 2021 and 2022. 

Given that so many Americans are experiencing “sticker shock” in their day-to-day life, Sophisticated Investor ran a national survey to determine where the effects of generationally high inflation are being felt the most. The question was put as follows:

“Where’s inflation hitting you the most?”

The survey recruited 2,008 respondents weighted by age and gender, each of whom were residing in the United States and aged 25 or older. 

American adults under the age of 25 were excluded from the study in order to exclude data that may misrepresent how inflation is impacting families. Families were the central unit of analyis in this survey, therefore younger adults who are less likely to have a family of their own (or to still live with their parents) were intentionally excluded from survey participation. 

The results displayed above (Fig. 1) demonstrate that a plurality of Americans (i.e., more than any other response category) find that the supermarket is where they experience inflation the most. Apart from the grocery store, Americans found that the gas pump (30.9%), utility bills and housing costs (8.5%), healthcare costs (5.4%), flight tickets (2.7%), and education (2.5%) were hardest hit by inflation.

Gender-Based Inflation Differences: Gas vs. Groceries

The survey results were not equal between men and women, with the latter demographic being more likely to experience inflation when buying groceries than pumping gas.

Graph depicting survey results by gender

Figure 2. Men represented by teal, women by dark blue. Source: Google Surveys.

A gender-based analysis of the survey results yields certain interesting but perhaps unsurprising results. The fact that more women than men claim to have experienced inflation the most when buying groceries is consistent with gender-based stereotypes of women being the primary caregiver in families burdenered with domestic chores and labor. 

The same is true for men, who are subject to traditional gender roles and stereotypes that have them driving to and from their jobs rather than stay home to perform domestic duties. 

A recent Pew Research poll found that 80% of women in families with children are the usual grocery shopper. This points to the fact that few families split grocery buying responsibilites equally, and that women are often burdenered with this responsibility far more than men.

Regarding driving, women drivers outnumber men, but they drive fewer miles on average. This likely explains the difference in why men and women are feeling the effects of rising gasoline prices differently. Women are also more likely to buy smaller vehicles with more efficient fuel economy.

Age-Based Inflation Differences

Regarding the respondents’ ages, the findings varied less significantly than regarding gender. 

Graph depicting survey results by age

Figure 3. Source: Google Data Studio.

The chart above (Fig. 3) depicts the differences in how the various age groups responded to the survey. This survey included five age brackets represented in the data:

  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65+

As a rule, older respondents (aged 55 and over) were more likely than their younger counterparts to claim that groceries, gasoline, and healthcare costs were the most impacted by inflation. Older Americans are also significantly less likely to find that inflation most effected the cost of educaiton or schooling. 

By contrast, many more young Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 find that inflation has impacted housing costs more than anywhere else. In fact, nearly twice as many respondents in this category found that housing was most impacted by inflation than those in the 55 to 64 age category. 

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted over a three-day period between May 6th and May 8th, 2022, with a sample size of 2,008 adults. Respondents were geographically limited to the United States, were at least 25 years of age, and were users of the AdMob Network by Google Surveys.

The methodology made use of convenience sampling and included a nationally representative sample of men and women of various age categories. 

Study Details and RMSE Scores

  • Audience: User of the AdMob Network and Google Surveys
  • Method: Convenience
  • Age: 25+
  • Gender: All genders
  • Location: United States
  • Language: English
  • Frequency: Once

Graph depicting survey graph details

Root mean square error (RMSE) is a weighted average of the difference between the predicted population sample (CPS) and the actual sample (Google). The lower the RMSE score, the smaller the total sample bias.

Discussion and Conclusions

These survey findings shed light on exactly how and where inflation is impacting the lives of ordinary Americans. At the time of writing, the annual inflation rate in the United States is 8.3% for the 12-month period that ended in April 2022. 

Today’s inflation rate is hovering around the highest reported by the U.S. Department of Labor since December 1981. 

Graph depicting inflation rates over time

Figure 5. Source: US Inflation Calculator

Critically, this survey casts light on the differences in how demographic groups experience inflation. For women, inflation hits harder at the grocery store; for men, at the gas pump. For older Americans, groceries and gas are primary inflation concerns; for younger Americans, housing costs are top of mind. 

Tired of Inflation? Consider Diversifying Your Investment Portfolio

As inflation sits at generational highs, consider taking action to your investment portfolio to combat the negative effects of a declining dollar. 

Hedging your investment strategy with alternative and digital assets that share low or inverse correlations with the value of the dollar or the equities market, such as precious metals and annuities, can help safeguard your wealth during inflationary periods. 

To get started, sign up for a precious metals IRA today. Dedicated customer care specialists can help you rollover or transfer existing retirement account funding to an account diversified in real asset such as gold, silver, platinum, and more. 

Full Survey Report

For a more detailed look at the data included in this article, view the full survey report on Google Data Studio. 

 

Liam Hunt

Liam Hunt, M.A., is a financial writer covering global markets, monetary policy, retirement savings, and millennial investing. His commentary and analysis have been featured in the New York Post, Reader's Digest, Fox Business, and Forbes.