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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Americans Less Stressed About Rising Prices Than a Year Ago, but Southerners Feeling the Pinch the Most

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Over the last few years, Americans have felt pinched by rising prices. In fact, nearly a quarter of credit cardholders in the 100 largest U.S. metros have at least one maxed-out credit card, according to a recent LendingTree study.

However, some relief may be on the horizon: Between January 2023 and January/February 2024, 12.1% fewer Americans believe the price of goods and services has risen recently, and 16.8% fewer Americans are moderately or very stressed about prices.

Here’s what else we found.

  • 81.2% of Americans report prices for goods and services have risen recently, with residents of Southern states the most likely to say so. Mississippi residents are the most likely to report rising costs in the past two months, at 89.0%. Residents in South Carolina (87.2%) and Alabama (86.8%) follow. Comparatively, only 64.3% of residents in the District of Columbia say similarly, with Vermont (67.6%) and Minnesota (72.6%) residents the others least likely to report rising goods and services costs.
  • As high as the numbers are, they represent a substantial decrease from a year ago. In early 2023, 92.4% of Americans reported that prices for goods and services rose over the past two months. That means 12.1% fewer Americans believe prices have risen recently. The biggest annual drops happened in Vermont (25.2%), the District of Columbia (23.6%) and Minnesota (21.0%).
  • 58.0% of American adults are very or moderately stressed about rising prices. Those rates are highest in Louisiana (66.5%), West Virginia (65.8%) and Mississippi (64.6%). In contrast, 37.7% of those in the District of Columbia are very or moderately stressed about prices, followed by 44.9% in Minnesota and 46.9% in Massachusetts.
  • Across the country, that still represents a drop from the 69.6% of adults who were moderately or very stressed about rising prices to start 2023. That means 16.8% fewer Americans are now moderately or very stressed about prices. The biggest yearly drops happened in Massachusetts (26.4%), Minnesota (24.5%) and Idaho (23.7%).

Rising costs may feel like the norm for many Americans, particularly as just over 4 in 5 (81.2%) report that prices for goods and services have risen in the past two months. Southern states are the most likely to have residents report rising costs, with Mississippi leading at 89.0%.

South Carolina and Alabama follow, at 87.2% and 86.8%, respectively.

On the other end of the list, just 64.3% of residents in the District of Columbia say similarly — making it the state where residents are least likely to report price hikes in the past two months. That’s followed by Vermont (67.6%) and Minnesota (72.6%).

3 states where people are most likely to say the cost of goods and services has risen

RankState% who say prices rose in the past 2 months
1Mississippi89.0%
2South Carolina87.2%
3Alabama86.8%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

According to LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz, income likely plays a role.

“Southern states tend to have lower per-capita incomes than much of the rest of the country,” he says. “That means their financial wiggle room is likely smaller and that they have to watch every penny more carefully. Every little increase in the cost of groceries, gas and other staples becomes magnified and is more likely to be noticed.”

In fact, all three states mentioned have per-capita incomes below the U.S. average of $41,261. By state, the average per-capita income is:

  • Mississippi: $29,209
  • South Carolina: $36,072
  • Alabama: $33,344

Meanwhile, the lowest ranking states all have per-capita incomes above the U.S. average (even though Vermont is close):

  • District of Columbia: $71,297
  • Vermont: $41,680
  • Minnesota: $44,947

Full rankings

States where people are most likely to say the cost of goods and services has risen

RankState% who say prices rose in the past 2 months
1Mississippi89.0%
2South Carolina87.2%
3Alabama86.8%
4Louisiana86.6%
5Oklahoma86.0%
6West Virginia85.7%
7Kentucky84.7%
8Texas84.1%
9Nevada83.9%
10Indiana83.8%
10New York83.8%
12Arkansas83.7%
12Wyoming83.7%
14Tennessee83.4%
15Hawaii83.3%
16California82.9%
17New Mexico82.7%
18Missouri82.5%
18Nebraska82.5%
20North Dakota82.4%
21Ohio81.9%
22Georgia81.4%
23Arizona81.3%
24Florida81.2%
25North Carolina81.0%
26Virginia80.6%
27Illinois80.5%
28Michigan80.4%
29Alaska80.0%
30New Jersey79.9%
31Pennsylvania79.5%
32Kansas79.4%
33Delaware78.9%
34Iowa78.5%
34South Dakota78.5%
36Connecticut78.4%
37Idaho78.1%
38Colorado77.7%
39Utah77.2%
40Maryland77.0%
41Washington76.9%
42Montana76.7%
43Rhode Island75.4%
44Wisconsin75.3%
45New Hampshire75.1%
45Oregon75.1%
47Maine73.9%
48Massachusetts73.1%
49Minnesota72.6%
50Vermont67.6%
51District of Columbia64.3%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

Though it feels as if costs have been rising with no end in sight, the percentage of Americans who reported rising costs has decreased since 2023. Last year, 92.4% of Americans reported that prices for goods and services rose over the past two months — or 12.1% fewer Americans than the 81.2% who have this sentiment now.

This comes as the consumer price index (CPI) — an index that measures the average change over time in the prices consumers pay for goods and services — rose 3.1% between January 2023 and January 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s a much milder increase than the 6.4% spike between January 2022 and January 2023.

By state, Vermont had the biggest drop, decreasing 25.2% from 90.4% to 67.6%. That’s followed by the drops in the District of Columbia (23.6%) and Minnesota (21.0%).

3 states where fewer Americans report rising goods and services costs

RankState% who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January 2023% who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January/February 2024% change
1Vermont90.4%67.6%-25.2%
2District of Columbia84.2%64.3%-23.6%
3Minnesota91.9%72.6%-21.0%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

On the other end of the list, the decrease was smallest in Hawaii, with just 4.7% fewer residents reporting rising prices between 2023 and 2024. The CPI in Honolulu rose similarly, 3.9%, between January 2023 and 2024, according to the BLS. Food, in particular, has seen a spike in Honolulu. While food prices rose 2.6% across the U.S. between January 2023 and January 2024, they rose 4.5% in Honolulu in the same period.

Hawaii residents may feel those food price hikes more than most Americans, too. According to the BLS, 17.3% of a Honolulu resident’s budget was spent on food between 2021 and 2022 — much higher than the 12.6% average across the U.S. in the same period.

After Hawaii, Mississippi (6.7%) had the next smallest drop in residents reporting rising prices. That’s followed by West Virginia and South Carolina, at 7.8% for both.

Full rankings

States where fewer Americans report rising goods and services costs

RankState% who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January 2023% who say prices rose in the past 2 months, January/February 2024% change
1Vermont90.4%67.6%-25.2%
2District of Columbia84.2%64.3%-23.6%
3Minnesota91.9%72.6%-21.0%
4Massachusetts92.1%73.1%-20.6%
5Wisconsin92.9%75.3%-18.9%
6Maine91.0%73.9%-18.8%
7New Hampshire90.9%75.1%-17.4%
8Montana92.8%76.7%-17.3%
9Rhode Island91.1%75.4%-17.2%
10Oregon90.1%75.1%-16.6%
11Delaware94.5%78.9%-16.5%
12Idaho93.2%78.1%-16.2%
13Utah91.8%77.2%-15.9%
14Maryland91.5%77.0%-15.8%
15Colorado91.7%77.7%-15.3%
16South Dakota92.3%78.5%-15.0%
17Alaska93.9%80.0%-14.8%
17Connecticut92.0%78.4%-14.8%
17Pennsylvania93.3%79.5%-14.8%
20Michigan93.6%80.4%-14.1%
21Virginia93.2%80.6%-13.5%
22Illinois92.5%80.5%-13.0%
23New Mexico94.8%82.7%-12.8%
24Florida93.0%81.2%-12.7%
24Kansas91.0%79.4%-12.7%
26Missouri94.1%82.5%-12.3%
26New Jersey91.1%79.9%-12.3%
28Georgia92.7%81.4%-12.2%
29Iowa89.3%78.5%-12.1%
29Tennessee94.9%83.4%-12.1%
31Arizona92.3%81.3%-11.9%
31Washington87.3%76.9%-11.9%
31Wyoming95.0%83.7%-11.9%
34Ohio92.1%81.9%-11.1%
35North Carolina91.0%81.0%-11.0%
36Arkansas93.8%83.7%-10.8%
37Texas93.5%84.1%-10.1%
38Louisiana96.0%86.6%-9.8%
39Kentucky93.8%84.7%-9.7%
39North Dakota91.3%82.4%-9.7%
41Oklahoma95.1%86.0%-9.6%
42Alabama95.8%86.8%-9.4%
42California91.5%82.9%-9.4%
44Nevada92.4%83.9%-9.2%
45Nebraska90.4%82.5%-8.7%
46Indiana91.7%83.8%-8.6%
47New York91.3%83.8%-8.2%
48South Carolina94.6%87.2%-7.8%
48West Virginia93.0%85.7%-7.8%
50Mississippi95.4%89.0%-6.7%
51Hawaii87.4%83.3%-4.7%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question.

With prices as high as they are, it shouldn’t be surprising that 58.0% of American adults are either very or moderately stressed about rising prices.

It’s worth noting that inflation has been cooling at a relatively constant rate. However, Schulz believes continually high interest rates contribute to Americans’ stress over rising prices.

“High rates are absolutely affecting Americans’ ability to afford goods and services,” he says. “A 25% interest rate on a credit card is ugly, and many struggling Americans face rates higher than that. When dealing with record interest rates, it makes you less likely to risk even taking on a little bit of debt for a positive reason. For example, someone considering starting a small business, remodeling a home, financing a wedding or taking on some other big project may shy away because the cost is just too high.”

By state, the percentage of Americans very or moderately stressed about rising costs is highest in Louisiana (66.5%), West Virginia (65.8%) and Mississippi (64.6%). Meanwhile, it’s lowest in the District of Columbia (37.7%), Minnesota (44.9%) and Massachusetts (46.9%).

3 states where people are most likely to be stressed about rising costs

RankState% of respondents who are very or moderately stressed
1Louisiana66.5%
2West Virginia65.8%
3Mississippi64.6%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

Full rankings

States where people are most likely to be stressed about rising costs

RankState% of respondents who are very or moderately stressed
1Louisiana66.5%
2West Virginia65.8%
3Mississippi64.6%
4Kentucky63.7%
5South Carolina62.6%
6California62.5%
7Alabama62.3%
8Arkansas62.2%
8Texas62.2%
10Oklahoma62.0%
11Indiana61.2%
12Wyoming61.1%
13New Mexico60.0%
14Georgia59.6%
15Nevada58.9%
16North Dakota58.8%
17Arizona58.6%
18Missouri58.5%
19Tennessee58.0%
19Florida58.0%
21New York57.8%
22Utah57.7%
23Montana57.2%
23Oregon57.2%
25Michigan56.9%
26Ohio56.8%
27Hawaii56.2%
28Kansas56.1%
29Virginia56.0%
30New Jersey55.9%
31Idaho55.8%
31Iowa55.8%
33Illinois55.7%
34North Carolina55.6%
35Nebraska55.3%
35Pennsylvania55.3%
37Rhode Island54.9%
38South Dakota54.7%
39Washington54.6%
40Connecticut54.3%
40Colorado54.3%
42Maryland53.8%
43Delaware53.1%
44Alaska52.9%
45Maine52.0%
46New Hampshire50.8%
47Wisconsin50.4%
48Vermont48.2%
49Massachusetts46.9%
50Minnesota44.9%
51District of Columbia37.7%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

Like the percentage of Americans who’ve noticed price increases, stress surrounding rising prices has fallen, too. At the start of 2023, 69.6% of adults reported being moderately or very stressed. With that percentage at 58.0% now, that means the percentage of Americans stressed about rising prices has fallen 16.8%.

Schulz believes that’s a significant drop. “It certainly seems to indicate that people are feeling better about their financial situation, and that’s a good thing,” he says. “Of course, it’s still concerning that nearly 6 in 10 Americans are stressed about rising prices, but at least the trends are moving in the right direction.”

3 states where fewer Americans are stressed about rising prices

RankState% who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January 2023% who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January/February 2024% change
1Massachusetts63.7%46.9%-26.4%
2Minnesota59.5%44.9%-24.5%
3Idaho73.2%55.8%-23.7%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

Massachusetts had the biggest drop at 26.4%. That’s followed by Minnesota (24.5%) and Idaho (23.7%). On the other end of the list, California saw the smallest drop at 9.8% — making it the only state with a single-digit decrease. That’s followed by Oregon (10.0%) and Hawaii (10.2%).

Full rankings

States where fewer Americans are stressed about rising prices

RankState% who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January 2023% who say they’re moderately or very stressed about rising prices, January/February 2024% change
1Massachusetts63.7%46.9%-26.4%
2Minnesota59.5%44.9%-24.5%
3Idaho73.2%55.8%-23.7%
4New Hampshire66.0%50.8%-23.0%
5Vermont62.0%48.2%-22.3%
6Connecticut69.7%54.3%-22.1%
7Wisconsin64.6%50.4%-22.0%
8Florida73.7%58.0%-21.2%
9Maine65.9%52.0%-21.1%
9Utah73.2%57.7%-21.1%
11North Carolina70.2%55.6%-20.8%
12Pennsylvania69.7%55.3%-20.7%
13Delaware66.4%53.1%-20.0%
13Illinois69.6%55.7%-20.0%
15Nevada73.4%58.9%-19.8%
16District of Columbia46.9%37.7%-19.6%
17Alaska65.5%52.9%-19.2%
17Missouri72.4%58.5%-19.2%
19New Jersey69.1%55.9%-19.1%
20Virginia68.9%56.0%-18.6%
21Oklahoma76.1%62.0%-18.5%
22Arizona71.5%58.6%-18.0%
23Arkansas75.8%62.2%-17.9%
24Colorado66.0%54.3%-17.8%
25Wyoming74.3%61.1%-17.7%
26Michigan69.1%56.9%-17.5%
27Tennessee70.2%58.0%-17.3%
28Maryland64.9%53.8%-17.2%
28Ohio68.6%56.8%-17.2%
30Georgia71.7%59.6%-16.9%
31Mississippi77.2%64.6%-16.4%
32South Dakota65.2%54.7%-16.1%
33Alabama74.0%62.3%-15.7%
34New York68.5%57.8%-15.6%
35Rhode Island64.9%54.9%-15.4%
36Louisiana78.6%66.5%-15.3%
37New Mexico70.8%60.0%-15.2%
38Nebraska65.2%55.3%-15.1%
39Montana67.3%57.2%-14.9%
40Kentucky74.6%63.7%-14.7%
40Texas72.9%62.2%-14.7%
42Kansas64.9%56.1%-13.6%
43West Virginia75.8%65.8%-13.3%
44Washington61.9%54.6%-11.8%
45Indiana69.2%61.2%-11.7%
46North Dakota66.4%58.8%-11.3%
47Iowa62.7%55.8%-11.0%
48South Carolina70.2%62.6%-10.8%
49Hawaii62.6%56.2%-10.2%
50Oregon63.6%57.2%-10.0%
51California69.3%62.5%-9.8%

Source: LendingTree analysis of Phase 4, Cycle 1 and Phase 3.7, Week 52 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey. Note: Excludes those who didn’t respond to the question(s).

While prices have been high for some time, Schulz says hope is on the horizon. “I think Americans will continue to report fewer price increases, and I hope the economy will continue to give them the reason to do so,” he says. “No one has a crystal ball and nothing is guaranteed, but there’s reason to be hopeful.”

Waiting for that relief may be challenging, particularly if your budget is tight. For these Americans, Schulz offers the following advice:

  • Budget as if inflation isn’t falling. “When creating a budget, it’s better to be conservative with your estimates and be pleasantly surprised than to be overly optimistic and scrambling,” he says. “Assume that the costs in your budget are going to be a good bit higher in six months to a year than today.”
  • Take advantage of great savings rates. “Inflation has been brutal on debtors but amazing for savers,” Schulz says. “If you haven’t shopped around for a new savings account in a few years, you might leave money on the table. Today’s high-yield accounts are returning 4% or 5% or even higher.”
  • Leverage credit card rewards. “The right credit card, used wisely, can help extend your budget,” he says. “Think about your spending habits and goals and make sure your cards give you what you need. If they aren’t, go shopping for a new one. If they are, make the most out of them. Those rewards, even just 1% to 2% cash back, can add up over time.”

LendingTree researchers calculated the rate of adults in each state and the District of Columbia who reported rising prices for goods and services in the prior two months using data from Phase 4, Cycle 1 of the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey — conducted between Jan. 9 and Feb. 5, 2024 — and compared it to rates reported roughly one year earlier in the Phase 3.7, Week 52 survey — conducted between Jan. 4 and 16, 2023.

The rate was the total number of residents in the state who answered that prices for goods and services rose in the prior two months divided by the total number of adults in the state minus the number of adults who didn’t respond to the question. The total number of adults in each category was weighted and provided by the survey results.

Researchers provided the same calculations and comparisons for adults in each state who reported severe or moderate stress because of rising prices. Only those who responded that prices rose were asked this question. The denominator to calculate rates was the total number of adults minus the number who didn’t answer the question on whether costs rose in the past two months minus the number of those who didn’t answer the question about stress levels.

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