How did Americans use their first coronavirus stimulus checks?

The first stimulus checks were sent out with the objective of helping people meet their expenses amid coronavirus pandemic. But, how many people actually used the coronavirus stimulus checks for that purpose has been revealed by a recent survey.

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Coronavirus stimulus checks: how was it used?

As per research by three economists circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), only about 15% of U.S. households spent most of their stimulus checks. In comparison about a third of Americans saved their stimulus checks, while more than half of the recipients used it to pay down their debt.

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Though the latest survey suggested that fewer people spent their stimulus checks, it still gives a meaningful insight on those who need the stimulus money. As per the survey, those who used their coronavirus stimulus checks primarily were Hispanic, people with lower-income and those who lived in comparatively larger households.

Further, the survey also asked respondents about how much they spent on the payment. On average, the Americans spent about 40% of their stimulus checks, saved 30% on average and used the remaining 30% to pay down debt. The money that was spent went mostly toward food, beauty, and other consumable products.

Further, about two-thirds of unemployed people who got the check said it made no impact on their job search. On the other hand, 20% of the unemployed who got the stimulus payment said they searched harder for a job after getting the check.

The research surveyed 11,000 individuals in Nielsen’s Homescan panel, which tracks people’s spending.

What did earlier surveys tell?

A survey released in June by YouGov found that about one-third of people used their stimulus checks to pay bills. The survey results suggested that people are in need of funds and are struggling to make both ends meet.

“It’s alarming to look at how many Americans used these funds to keep a roof over their head and pay for necessities considering the federal government has not provided clarity about another round of stimulus payments being provided in the near future,” the YouGov report said.

Separately, the U.S. Census Bureau reported earlier this summer that many of those who used their coronavirus stimulus checks to pay debt have a household income between $75,000 and $99,999. Further, the survey of more than a million Americans found that 88% of those with incomes of $25,000 or less intend to use their stimulus payment to pay toward expenses.

The CARES Act was passed in March, and the first checks went out in mid-April. Eligible individuals got $1,200 in stimulus payment, while couples filing jointly got $2,400. As of now, no decision has been reached on the second round of stimulus checks.