That's more than double the percentage of Americans overall who say the recession has brought hardship.
Among those who have been unemployed more than six months, the percentage who say their families are facing hardship rises to 58 percent.
Only 5 percent of unemployed Americans say the recession has not had much effect on their families. In addition to the 49 percent who say it has caused hardship, another 44 percent say it has made their lives more difficult.
Read the Complete Poll
With government officials signaling that the recession may be over despite lagging employment rates, there is a glimmer of optimism among Americans seeking work.
Thirty-nine percent expect the job market to get better in their area, while just 22 percent expect it to get worse. Thirty-six percent say it will stay the same.
Long periods of joblessness seem to lessen that optimism, however: Among those out of work for six months, fewer (33 percent) expect the job market in their area to improve, and more (26 percent) expect it to get worse.
Less than half of unemployed Americans expect the jobs lost in their community to return. While 46 percent say those jobs will return, 40 percent say they will not.
Americans in the Midwest, where the economy has traditionally been driven by manufacturing jobs, are the most pessimistic about jobs returning to their area.
More than half of the unemployed Americans surveyed in the Midwest do not expect jobs to return.
The full poll on the impact of the recession on the unemployed will be released at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,650 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone December 4-10, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus two percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.
An oversample of people out of work and looking for a job were interviewed for a total of 708 interviews with the unemployed. The results were then weighted in proportion to the adult population as reported by the U.S. Census. The margin of error for the sample of the unemployed is four points.
Results among all Americans are from a CBS News/New York Times Poll conducted December 4-8, 2009.
This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.