Apr 28, 2020 - Health

Americans are choosing to save, not spend, their stimulus checks

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Table: Axios Visuals

More Americans have chosen to save their CARES Act direct payment checks than spend them, even to catch up on bills or purchase household needs, the latest results of the Axios/Ipsos poll show.

What's happening: Despite nearly 20% saying they had been furloughed, laid off or otherwise separated from their job, the most popular answer among survey respondents was to sock their money away, with 38% saying they put it into savings.

Why it matters: Economists have worried that one major effect of the coronavirus pandemic could be that Americans become more conscious of their savings and cut back on spending.

  • While few were expected to spend their checks on discretionary purchases like TVs or vacations, given nationwide lockdown orders, the particularly high rate of savings could signal a shift.

Between the lines: While around a third of respondents from all racial, age and income groups chose savings, it was not the top choice for Black or Hispanic respondents or those making less than $50,000 a year.

By the numbers: Black respondents' top choice — 49% compared to 26% of all those surveyed — was to pay off debt, while more Hispanics planned to pay for food and basic household needs (40% vs 25%), as did respondents earning less than $50,000 (35%).

  • White respondents were the most likely to be uncertain what they would do with the money, with 21% saying they had not spent it yet but planned to.
  • That compared to 16% of Black folks and 5% of Hispanics.

Of note: Respondents were permitted to choose more than one option.

Go deeper

Coronavirus' unequal economic toll

Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, almost half of all African American, Latino, and low-income Americans are having trouble paying their bills, including medical bills.

Why it matters: The findings from our latest KFF polling suggest that even if Congress’ relief efforts are helping, they’re not nearly enough.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Infectious disease experts doubt that the coronavirus will slow its spread during the summer, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

By the numbers: More than 105,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 458,000 Americans have recovered and over 17.3 million tests have been conducted.

Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.