Financial Strain

Financial Strain

Three questions about self-perceived financial strain were asked of Young Adults for the first time in 2000 and have been asked each round since then:

  • How often they or their household puts off buying something they need
  • How much difficulty they or their household had paying bills in the last 12 months
  • At the end of each month over the past 12 months, did they or their household end up with more than enough money left over, some money left over, just enough to make ends meet, or not enough to make ends meet

Beginning in 2006, Young Adult respondents, except nonemancipated minors, have been asked whether anyone other than their spouse/partner paid part of their living expenses in the last calendar year. If they answer yes, they are further asked if this person lived in their household and how much of their living expenses this person covered.

Since 2010, the Young Adult survey has included an expanded set of questions looking at the financial strain that respondents and their families might be experiencing. Young Adults, except nonemancipated minors, are asked whether during the last 12 months they or their spouse/partner have been 60 days late in paying the following types of bills:

  • Mortgage or rent 
  • Utility bills    
  • Credit card bills
  • Car payment      
  • Other kinds of loans  
  • Other bills           

Respondents are also asked whether in the past 12 months they have:

  • Had an account sent to a collection agency            
  • Had something repossessed                             
  • Gotten a loan from a payday or other store-front lender
  • Filed for bankruptcy                                  
  • Experienced foreclosure of a property they owned or were renting      

Also asked since 2010 are a series of questions focused on experiences with foreclosure. The first time a respondent answers these questions, the reference date used is January, 2007. After that, the reference date used is the date of last interview. Respondents who have indicated they either currently own or have owned a home since the reference date are asked:

  • Whether they have fallen more than two months behind in their mortgage payments
  • Whether they have gone through foreclosure
  • If so, did they lose their home
  • If not, they are asked both:
    • whether are they facing possible foreclosure
    • how likely they are to fall behind in their mortgage in the next six months

Respondents who have indicated they either currently own or have owned any other real estate since the reference date are asked the same series about their other real estate.

Comparison to other cohorts:  Since 2010, the NLSY79 survey has included comparable questions about foreclosure.

Survey Instruments Questions on income are found in the Young Adult Instrument, Section 15, Income and Assets.
Area of Interest YA Income