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Inflation has more Marylanders struggling to make ends meet

38 percent have some difficulty paying bills
Inflation struggle.jpg
Posted at 8:09 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 09:53:54-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — More and more people are feeling the pinch of inflation as the price of gas, food, and many other products continues to go up.

Inflation is up nearly 8 percent which means the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar is down, costing consumers more money to buy the same products they bought a year ago.

People are more and more stressed about making ends meet.

Analysts with the online loan marketplace Lending Tree found half of the state is having at least a moderate to high difficulty in paying their usual household expenses.

From the gas pump to the grocery store, prices are going up. It's straining household budgets and testing people's patience.

Quote Wizard by Lending Tree analyst Nick VinZant said “I think it’s a double edge sword in the sense that this is having a real-life practical effect in that it’s costing me more money and it’s starting to feel like the middle class and people who aren’t doing as well are really starting to get the short end of the stick.”

Many Americans are wondering just how far they can stretch a dollar as inflation hits a 40-year high of 7.5 percent.

“That is a measure of all different kinds of goods, it’s not just looking at one thing and saying well gas is up 7-1/2% so inflation is up 7% as a measure of literally hundreds of different goods and how much they have increased over time and so we’re seeing this really being widespread,” VinZant said.

The U.S. Census Bureau collected data from households across the country from December 2021 to February 2022 to see how the pandemic changed people's lives.

VinZant examined the data and found out how inflation is affecting people's lives, such as 38 percent of Maryland residents are having a slight to moderate difficulty paying for household expenses.

Twelve percent of Maryland residents are having a “very difficult” time.

“It really doesn’t take a big change in prices to have a big change in peoples lives. A lot of people were really living on the margins going paycheck to paycheck before inflation really started to set in, so as soon as it did, it had a big effect,” VinZant said.

The number of people in Maryland having a very difficult time paying their bills jumped 50 percent from June 2021 to February 2022.

“I think the reason that people are having such a difficult time right now isn’t just because of inflation. It’s because of where inflation is really the most, in terms of food gas and rent, things that people can’t quickly just tighten their belts and get through,” VinZant said.

Inflation has been running at a 40-year-high for 2022.

Since the latest Consumer Price Index came out on March 10th, inflation is up again from 7.5 percent in January to 7.9 percent in February.

In the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, inflation is up to 9.3 percent.

At 12 percent, Maryland is in line with the national average for people having a very difficult time making ends meet compared to Texas which is at 15 percent, while Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest percentage of people having a very difficult time paying their bills at 16 percent.