US Stimulus Check Spending

Goals

To understand how the public is spending their stimulus check by locating a breakdown of the spending, the boost to the economy, what sectors are they spending the most in, and are they spending it immediately or saving it.

Early Findings

Spending

  • Netspend, who has processed almost $1 billion in relief payments states that its customers are using the money for groceries, fast-food, pharmacies, and gas. They are also withdrawing cash from ATMs.
  • On Twitter, people said they plan to spend the money on everything from paying credit card bills and child support to buying wish list items such as shoes and video games.
  • A Gallup poll discovered that 35% said they would pay bills, 29% would save or invest, 16% would spend on essential items like food and gas, 4% would spend on nonessential items, 3% would donate to charity, and 13% did not expect to receive any payment from the government.
  • Furthermore, it was broken down by annual household income:
  • Under $36,000 household income: pay bills (44%), save or invest (18%), spend on essential items (26%), spend on nonessential items (2%), donate to charity (1%), will not receive payment (9%).
  • $36,000-$89,900 household income: pay bills (42%), save or invest (30%), spend on essential items (17%), spend on nonessential items (4%), donate to charity (3%), will not receive payment (4%).
  • $90,000 or more household income: pay bills 26%), save or invest (20%), spend on essential items (10%), spend on nonessential items (5%), donate to charity (3%), will not receive payment (24%).

Summary of Initial Research

  • Our initial research was able to locate two seperate polls and some Twitter comments. From the availability of information, there seems to be more surveys/polls that answer this question.

Proposed next steps:

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We propose research to 1. find 5-7 additional pieces of data that indicate how the stimulus checks are being spent by the US public. This data will come from polls and surveys (like the Gallup poll). For each piece, we will explain the data and provide statistical evidence. 2. Locate data that explains the impact this stimulus money will have on the economy. We will provide an overview of the effects of the stimulus money on the economy and will include any important data like the industries that might stand to benefit the most.
Additionally, we propose research to locate 20 quotes from social media that show a variety of ways that people intend to use their stimulus money. For each, we will provide the date, quote, and link to the quote. Any unique ways that people are spending their stimulus check will be highlighted.
Finally, we recommend research to 1. identify the top 3-5 ways that financial experts are recommending that the stimulus money should be spent on. For each one, we will provide an explanation of the reason, and what makes it a "top" reason. 2. Provide a high-level overview of the multiple ideas that are being floated through the government on additional stimulus packages for individuals and provide any information that would show how likely these ideas are (if available).