Poll: Half concerned they can't afford gifts this year

chart gifts concerned afford holiday

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

One in two Americans are concerned that they will not be able to afford the holiday gifts they would like to buy this year, according to a new CBS News survey. Just one in four are not at all concerned.

Twenty-one percent say they are "very" concerned about affording the gifts they want to buy, a figure that rises to 34 percent among those with a household income of less than $50,000 per year. Another 29 percent say they are "somewhat" concerned about being able to buy those gifts.

Thirty-three percent say flatly that they will not have enough money to cover their holiday spending needs this year, including 53 percent of those making less than $50,000 per year. About half of Americans say they will have just enough to cover their holiday spending needs, while 19 percent say they will have more than enough to do so.

Fifteen percent of Americans say they don't have an account with a bank or credit union; three in four in this group have an income less than $50,000 per year. Fifty-eight percent of those in this group say they won't have enough money to cover holiday spending this year.

About three in five Americans - 61 percent - say they are feeling the same amount of stress about holiday spending this year as they have in years past. But 34 percent - including 46 percent of those making less than $50,000 per year - say they are feeling more stress this year. Just 4 percent say they are feeling less stress.

In a CBS News surveytaken November 6-10, 4 in ten Americans said they plan to spend less money on gifts this season than they did last year. Just nine percent of respondents said they will spend more on gifts this year than they did last year. 

Read the complete poll (PDF)

This poll was conducted by telephone from November 18-21, 2011 among 951 adults nationwide. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. For the household income samples, the margin of error could be plus or minus five points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.


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