Inflation concerns hit a near-40 year high

March 29, 2022, 3:50 PM UTC

Inflation fears in America haven’t been this high since the mid-1980s.

A new Gallup poll shows concerns over rising costs are the most pressing worry of just under one-in-five Americans. That’s nearly twice as high as worries over the war in Ukraine.

Some 17% of the 1,000+ people surveyed between March 1-18 cited the high cost of living and inflation as the nation’s biggest problem. That’s more than twice as many people who felt that way in January.

Fuel prices were a relatively low concern, coming in at just 4%.

While we’re increasingly worried about the rising cost of living, Americans are feeling a lot better about the pandemic. The number of people ranking coronavirus as the biggest non-economic problem fell to its lowest level of the pandemic, just 3%. (Compare that to 20% who felt it was the most pressing issue in January.)

If there’s good news to be found in the higher inflation fears, it’s that Gallup’s 2022 numbers are nowhere near as high as the percentages found in the early 1980s, when they spiked to 52% after prices soared following a period of stagflation in the 1970s.

Inflation fears are across all income brackets, Gallup notes, saying “the percentage worried a great deal about inflation is nearly as high among adults earning $100,000 or more (58%) as among those earning less than $40,000 (63%)”. However, like so many things today, there is a partisan split, with 79% of Republicans saying it is their biggest concern and only 35% of Democrats ranking it that high.

“Inflation doesn’t dominate Americans’ perceptions of the most important problem facing the country today the way it did in the early 1980s,” said Gallup, “but it’s more top-of-mind than it’s been in over three decades and appears to be taking a toll on Americans’ broader economic confidence.”

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