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Inflation Pushing Black, Latino and Native American Consumers into Financial Crisis

More than half of Black, Latino and Native Americans don’t have enough savings for one month of expenses.

More than half of Black, Native Americans, and Latino households are facing a financial crisis as they contend with inflation rates that are at a 40-year high. This, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

As high gas prices and steadily increasing grocery store prices are stretching American's wallets, the poll shows Black, Native, and Latino people struggling most amid the high inflation.

Some 58 percent of African Americans, 69% of Native Americans, and 56% of Latinos report rising costs have left them struggling with serious financial problems. Alternately, only 44% of white households and 36% of Asians say they deal with  serious financial troubles.

The poll also found that inflation is compounding current financial stresses, including high healthcare costs and the lack of affordable housing, issues disproportionately affect minority groups most often.

Of those surveyed, 24% of Black households, 18% of Latino households, 35% of Native American households, 18% of white households, and 10% of Asian households say they have put off seeking health care for serious illnesses in the past year.

Around two-thirds of all Black, Native American, white, Asian, and Latinos also report that affordable housing is a significant problem in their neighborhoods.

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The news comes as the U.S. has seen two consecutive quarters of a shrinking gross domestic product, which is the definition of a technical recession.

Fifty eight percent of Black adults who responded to the poll say they don't have one month of expenses saved up in an emergency account. For Native American respondents, 58% of them answered the same way- they can’t cover one month of usual expenses using their savings. A slightly lower percentage but still more than half of the Latino respondents, 53%, answered similarly. Just 20% percent of Asians and 38% of white people can’t cover one month of typical expenses with their savings on hand. Financial advisors often suggest individuals have a savings of at least three months living expenses.

On Sunday, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious plan to fight climate change, lower prescription drug prices via Medicare, reduce the U.S. deficit, and earn new revenue through tax overhauls.

President Joe Biden on Sunday hailed the passage of the historic legislation which saw Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaker vote.  The president said the legislation “tackles inflation by lowering the deficit and lowering costs for regular families.”

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