27+ Crucial Financial Statistics (2021 Update)
How do finances vary across the globe? From household incomes to credit card use, learn all there is — and more — with these essential financial statistics.
Recently, people from all over the world have become more literate; from a financial standpoint that is.
Generally, finance is defined as a field that is directly linked to how we allocate liabilities and assets over a certain time-frame, under conditions of both uncertainty and risk. Other theories define finance as money management, where market participants do their best to increase profits through investments by carefully considering the expected rate of return, the level of risk involved, and the value of their assets.
This article will cover several financial statistics to facilitate understanding of how finance works and what most people are actually doing to ensure a safe financial future. As such, some of the main topics that we will tackle include — but are not limited to — budgeting, financial stress, financial fraud, financial aid, financial literacy, personal finance, and more.
Key Financial Statistics in 2019 (Editor’s Pick)
- 50% of the world’s population currently lives with just under $2.5 daily, whereas 80% of people live with under $10 daily.
- The Federal Bank estimated student debt sitting at $1.31 trillion in 2016, highlighting the huge deficiencies in the US education market.
- Only 24% of millennials in the US have basic financial knowledge, as reported by a recent survey.
- It is estimated that 15% of people have no savings whatsoever in the UK, thus being forced to live from paycheck to paycheck.
- A report has concluded that 49% of US citizens are stressed, anxious, concerned, and fearful about their financial situation.
Personal Finance Statistics
A study carried out by Gallup metrics has determined that the median annual household income worldwide is only $9,733.
This means that, in most countries, households have an annual income that is situated under the $10,000 threshold. On the other hand, the median per-capita household income, according to the same study, is estimated to be at $2,920. It is important to point out that this research effort has calculated the median income, rather than the average. Therefore, the impact of the extremities has been dialed down, to avoid influencing the numbers too much. As such, according to financial statistics, there are huge gaps between household incomes throughout the world, showcasing the dramatic difference in spending power worldwide.
To facilitate perspective, the median household income in the United States was estimated at $60,336 in 2017.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, granted that the US represents one of the world’s most developed countries. However, a six-fold difference is certainly an aspect worth taking into consideration. As you might expect, spending power varies considerably. According to financial statistics, an average worldwide salary can purchase a comfortable lifestyle in most of the world’s countries. However, the same income in the United States will put you blow the Federal Poverty Line, given the huge price differences for taxes, products, properties, and services.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey
Half of the world’s population lives on just under $2.5 per day.
For residents of developed countries, grasping these financial statistics might prove a bit difficult, due to the huge difference in living standards. Despite this, the $2.5 daily spending sum is still quite large and doesn’t class a person as living in poverty. With this in mind, over 1.5 billion people live in actual poverty; they spend less than $1.25 on a daily basis. It is here where the quality of life really takes a toll on the individual.
Source: United Nations Development Programme. “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience 2014”
It is estimated that 1 billion children live in poverty at this time.
Poverty is a true concern, especially when it affects the innocent lives of children, who have no other choice. This personal finance statistics is provided by UNICEF. The same study showcases that, at this time, over 16,000 children die on a daily basis due to poverty.
Source: United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. “UNICEF: Committing to Child Survival: A promise renewed”
80% of the world’s population lives with less than $10 per day.
This once again gives us some perspective over the overall state of personal finance worldwide. In the case of living with less than $10 daily, saving is close to impossible, whereas budgeting is an essential aspect of these people’s lives.
Financial Literacy Statistics
51.4% of surveyed young adults want a high school course on money management.
This statistics is based on a survey from 2017, where 1,101 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 were asked which course they think would benefit them the most. This showcases that young adults throughout the United States are more than willing to improve their overall financial literacy. After all, everybody deals with money, therefore everyone wants to learn more about effective money management, investment techniques, and good spending habits, according to financial literacy statistics.
Source: Financial Educators Council
A Bank of America study has indicated that only 16% of US young adults are optimistic when it comes down to their financial future.
Therefore, financial worry is a true source of stress for numerous young adults throughout the United States. Hopefully, local governments and NGOs will soon notice this aspect and therefore invest in creating more opportunities for financial literacy. According to personal finance statistics, most people will work and earn money within their lifetime — smart management of money is the key to ensure a quality lifestyle in the future.
Source: Financial Educators Council
According to a PwC study, 54% of US-based millennials are worried about being unable to pay their student loans.
With this in mind, college loans are also a great source of financial stress for most American students. The issue here is also directly linked with financial literacy, granted that a loan should only be taken if the debtor is certain they will be able to pay back the loan in question or at least has an emergency fund to ensure that bankruptcy can be avoided, according to US financial statistics.
Only 24% of millennials in the US have basic financial knowledge.
This statistic helps us conclude that financial illiteracy is an issue that most millennials in the US are dealing with. We can also conclude that this challenge is present in most of the world’s countries, given that the US represents one of the world’s strongest economies. We can only assume that the rates are significantly worse in other areas of the world, according to statistics on the financial market.
Financial illiteracy is also confirmed as 42% of millennials often use alternative financial services.
AFS products refer to payday loans, rent-to-own products, auto title loans, and pawnshops. Generally, using AFS products showcases financial illiteracy, due to the high after-costs associated with products like these. It is important to point out the fact the situation isn’t any different in other regions of the world, according to international financial statistics. In fact, there are numerous countries where AFS products are even more popular.
A PwC study has concluded that only 27% of millennials seek professional financial advice.
Despite the huge financial illiteracy rates, most millennials aren’t even aware of their problems. Because of this, numerous people deal with money as they please, without considering the implications. Similarly, most millennials choose to avoid seeking financial help, despite their insufficient knowledge of the market.
Financial Aid Statistics
85% of US-based undergraduate students requested and received financial aid in 2016/2017.
According to the National Centre for Education Statistics, most US-based students require financial aid in order to complete their studies. Between 2016 and 2000, the percentage of financial aid given to students increased by 10% showcasing that, instead of improving, the situation is only getting worse. This once again demonstrates the need for financial education and reform within the educational system in the US. International financial statistics indicate that in the rest of the world; student loans aren’t a problem since a college education is significantly cheaper and even free in many cases.
Source: National Centre for Education Statistics
In the US, student debt was estimated at $1.31 trillion during 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.
This once again displays that the education system in the US is flawed since students shouldn’t have to spend this much on education. It is important to point out that the $1 trillion thresholds were first exceeded in 2012, according to financial aid statistics.
Source: New York Federal Reserve Bank
Currently, there are around 44.2 million Americans who are trying to pay back their student debt.
This once again helps prove that financial aid is mandatory for numerous aspiring Americans who would like to pursue a degree in order to further specialize themselves. The ones who do not need financial aid generally come from richer families, or families who have been saving for tuition for a long period of time.
Source: Student Loan Hero
A 2019 study concluded that, at this point, American households have an average of $8,863 in their bank accounts.
Recently, numerous financial experts have been talking about the benefits of saving more and creating emergency funds. Financial experts also talk about the importance of investments and portfolio diversification. However, individuals generally have considerably less money in their bank accounts as these are the average savings statistics of the American household as a whole.
In the US, single individuals without children have an average of $2,729 saved.
This statistic helps illustrate that, despite being one of the world’s most powerful economies, the average American doesn’t have that much money saved up. It seems that couples with children, aged between 35 and 44 generally have a sum of approximately $10,399 in their bank accounts, according to savings statistics.
In the UK, it is estimated that 15% of people have no savings whatsoever, living from paycheck to paycheck.
This stat once again proves the fact that financial literacy is low amongst Brits as well, considering the fact that most UK residents have high salaries; meaning, they can afford to save a decent sum on a monthly basis. However, the reality is that most people prefer to spend most of their money, proving why 15% of people have no savings whatsoever. Similarly, one out of three British citizens has less than 1,500 pounds saved up at this moment in time, according to statistics on budgeting.
The average investment amounts in the UK are declining.
A research effort has determined that more investment accounts are being opened in England. Despite this aspect, the actual amount being invested is slowly decreasing. For instance, the average investment for British citizens is currently situated at 813 pounds, which is lower when compared to the 1,050 pound average in 2017, as reported by personal budget statistics.
Two-thirds of individuals in England had no financial plan for 2018.
Lacking a financial plan is a big financial mistake; it leads to mindless spending, debt, and lack of savings. It is essential for governments and NGOs throughout the world to initiate measures meant to further educate people on the importance of budgeting, creating a financial plan, saving, and investing. Failure to do so will likely lead to a decreased quality of life for people in developed countries. When asked for the reason behind not saving, 40% of respondents reported insufficient earnings.
It seems that the likelihood of engaging in a budgeting practice is linked to the degree of education obtained.
A 2014 research effort has determined that 38% of people who are college-educated engage in budgeting, whereas only 26% of those with a high school education do so. Similarly, the 2013 Gallup Poll in the US determined that 32% of households actually create and attempt to stick to a monthly budget. This once again demonstrates a high financial literacy present both in the US, but also in most other areas of the world.
Source: Credit Donkey
A 2014 survey carried out by CreditDonkey determined that 29.2% of people don’t save at all.
Another interesting result worth pointing out concerning American financial statistics is that 10.8% of people were saving more than 20% in 2014. These numbers are low regardless of your chosen perspective, therefore change is needed to ensure that people are able to learn and save a larger portion of their salaries. It has often been proven that larger savings lead to less stress and better financial stability from a long-term perspective.
Source: Credit Donkey
According to budgeting statistics provided by the Bureau of Labour, 32.9% of budgets were spent on housing during 2016 in the US.
It is also worth mentioning that 17% is spent on transportation, followed by 12.5% on food, 11.3% on personal insurance, 7.8% on healthcare, 5.1% on entertainment, 3.3% on apparel, 3.2% on cash contributions, 2.3% on education and 4.5% on misc. Furthermore, these American financial statistics are better put into perspective when considering that they are based on an average household income of $74,664 yearly.
In 2017, almost half of the American households lived paycheck to paycheck.
This statistic is based on research carried out by MarketWatch in 2017 and it highlights the fact that most Americans are not ready for emergency expenses, since 19% of people had 0 saved in case of an emergency, whereas 31% of US citizens had less than $500 saved for this purpose.
Financial Stress Statistics
The same MarketWatch report has concluded that 49% of US citizens are stressed, anxious, concerned, and fearful when it comes down to their well-being from a financial standpoint.
This statistic demonstrates the immense paradox that we live in today. If half of the citizens of one of the world’s most developed countries deal with financial burdens affecting their mental health, what do financial stress statistics have to say about the rest of the world? Unfortunately, very little data is available on this matter.
Over 40% of US citizens have difficulty opening up about the financial stress that they are dealing with.
In fact, many would prefer a visit to the dentist as opposed to having to talk about their financial situation with other people. It seems like opening up to this matter is a real problem, especially in countries where most people are in debt, or actively use credit cards, according to financial stress statistics. It is essential for society to renounce the stigma associated with financial talk, granted that speaking to your coworkers, friends, and relatives about your financial concerns is the best way to learn more about the market, and understand how your spending habits compare to those of other people. Similarly, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss a subject that is considered taboo in the workplace environment. As such, numerous employees avoid talking about their salary, yet doing so is the best way to ensure that you are not being underpaid. Knowing how much your coworkers make and how they manage can help in deciding whether to ask for a raise or switch jobs entirely.
Source: Best Money Moves
Financial Fraud Statistics
Identity theft alongside bank account takeovers has become a growing concern in the US, as losses were as high as $5.1 billion in 2017.
Similarly, it is also important to note that the number of total account takeovers has tripled during 2017, as compared to 2016. This means that fraudsters are hard at work in their attempt to gather personal data about their next victim. It is essential for the financial and identity markets to introduce stronger security measures. Luckily, research and development are being carried out where technologies like the blockchain are proving their worth combating the prevailing financial fraud in the US.
Credit card fraud represents the number one form of financial fraud in the US.
Statistics showcase that 130,928 reports concerning credit card fraud have been made during 2018. In comparison, only 38,967 reports concerning tax fraud were made during the same timeframe. However, it is important to point out that credit card fraud generally concerns the creation of new accounts. On the other hand, credit card fraud on existing accounts is considerably less prevalent, granted that only 32,329 reports were made during 2018, as outlined by several average American financial statistics.
Roughly 5 million elderly people are financially-abused yearly in the United States.
This grim statistic points out a fact that experts have been highlighting for years. The elderly population is considerably more prone to financial fraud and financial abuse, given their inexperience with the new financial technologies. In the US, it is estimated that from these 5 million cases, law enforcement only learns about and deals with approximately 1 in 25 cases, as pinpointed by elder financial abuse statistics. Solutions are, therefore, required to slow down this trend.
Based on everything that has been outlined thus far, the financial market is in desperate need of change. It is believed that in the next couple of years, technologies powering our financial market will improve, leading to less strain and lower taxes. Nevertheless, this fails to solve the underlying issue that is present in countries throughout the world. At this time, most people are illiterate from a financial standpoint; no savings accounts, living paycheck to paycheck, or making unwise investments. Financial education is necessary to ensure that fewer people live below the poverty line and that the overall economy of the world is improved.
We hope that our financial statistics will provide insight capable of facilitating the long-term improvement of the financial market.