The Pulse

Number of Americans Living Paycheck to Paycheck on Decline Despite Pandemic

A good sign during a time when financial security is a major issue for many

“Getting Paid In America,” a survey conducted by the America Payroll Association (APA) studying the effects the pandemic has had on people’s ability to support themselves amidst financial instability

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 69 percent of individuals in America would experience financial difficulty if their paychecks were delayed for a week, according to results from the 2020 “Getting Paid In America” survey conducted by the American Payroll Association (APA). This is a decrease from the 74 percent of individuals who indicated they were living paycheck to paycheck in the 2019 survey, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Now more than ever, making smart decisions with your pay is vital to laying the groundwork for financial success for today and the future,” said Dan Maddux, executive director of the APA. “Individuals have the power to maximize their financial health through strategic management of their pay, withholdings, and deductions by using APA’s complimentary financial resources on the NPW website.”

The annual APA survey asked respondents how difficult it would be to meet their current financial obligations if their paychecks were delayed for a week. Approximately 23,600 respondents, nearly 69 percent, said they would find it either somewhat or very difficult to meet their financial obligations.

Now more than ever, making smart decisions with your pay is vital to laying the groundwork for financial success for today and the future...

“As the world of work adapts to today’s shifting environment, workers want and need reliable, easy access to their pay more than ever. With that in mind, employers have an opportunity to help their people through change by offering flexible pay options and financial wellness tools,” said Doug Politi, president of compliance solutions for ADP. “We’re proud to lead those efforts and help our clients do the same for their teams.”

Educational Resources

On its National Payroll Week website, the APA offers educational resources and tools to help individuals better understand how to get more from their pay, make strategic withholding decisions with unemployment benefits, and better plan for their financial goals today and tomorrow.

The “Getting Paid In America” survey was held in conjunction with the APA’s annual public awareness campaign National Payroll Week, September 7-11. Over 35,000 individuals responded to the survey, providing insight into how individuals are paid in America. For complete survey results, visit

The APA is the nation’s leader in payroll education, publications, and training. Visit the APA online at