Share of Six-Figure Earners Living Paycheck to Paycheck Up From Last Year

In April, 49% of individuals making over $100,000 per year were living paycheck to paycheck.

Man opening wallet, with debt expense bills and credit cards, at a table.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although inflation has been slowing, Americans are still feeling its effects. According to a recent study from PYMTS and LendingClub, 61% of consumers were living paycheck to paycheck in April 2023. 

Even those making well over the average U.S. yearly salary of $58,563 were struggling to stay ahead financially. In fact, the report found that 49% of individuals making over $100,000 per year were living paycheck to paycheck this April. This is up 7% from April of last year.

In comparison, the study found that low-income consumers - those earning less than $50,000 a year - “are adapting their spending to lessen inflationary pressures and live better within their means.” In April 2023, 73% of low-income consumers were living paycheck to paycheck, down from 80% last year. For individuals making between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, 63% were found to live paycheck to paycheck, only a 1% decrease from the year prior.  

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Where you live also plays a part in how far your money goes. The report found that those living in urban areas are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck (69%), even though 36% of consumers earning six-figure salaries live in urban centers. 

On the other hand, consumers living in the suburbs are least likely to live paycheck to paycheck (55%). Just under two-thirds of rural consumers were found to live paycheck to paycheck. 

Trends in the report also show that the rising cost of living is most affecting consumers in the West. From April 2022 to April 2023, the share of consumers in the West living paycheck to paycheck rose from 59% to 64%.  Fewer urban dwellers live paycheck to paycheck in the South than in other parts of the country.

Below, you'll see what share of urban consumers are living paycheck to paycheck, depending on which region of the U.S. they live. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
All urban consumers69.2%

Another report by SmartAsset found the cities where your money goes the furthest. Workers making $100,000 a year will get the most for their cash in Memphis, Tennessee, where after taxes and a cost-of-living adjustment take-home pay is $86,444. On the other hand, in New York City, $100,000 amounts to just $35,791. Inflation is also rising more in some cities than others.

Overall, the report shows that "consumers are facing different financial challenges based on their location that lead them to live paycheck to paycheck, with urban dwellers in particular more apt to be on the front line." The following shows the share of consumers citing the most important reason why they live paycheck to paycheck, according to the data. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Urban areaSuburban areaRural area
Paycheck just covers basic bills25.3%25.2%33.3%
Have to repay a significant debt14.6%19.5%18.1%
Have to pay for costs of other family members16.4%16.2%11.2%
Buy unnecessary items15.5%15.2%12.7%
ave used a significant share of savings10.6%7.9%8.3%
Do not earn enough to cover basic bills4.7%5.6%5.7%
Have to pay large medical bills5.8%3.5%4.8%
Unstable employment situation5.2%2.3%2.4%

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Erin Bendig
Personal Finance Writer

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.