The study, conducted by Bankrate, found that despite the dismal figures, Americans have actually improved their savings from last year. In 2015, only 37 percent of Americans reported that they had enough money to cover an unexpected $500 expense.
"Five-hundred dollars is enough money that it could be catastrophic if you’re really living on the edge and don’t have enough money" to cover that unplanned cost, Bankrate senior investment analyst Sheyna Steiner told Forbes. "I did wonder what would happen if it was $10,000, what would the answer have been then?"
Interestingly, it was the millennials who are the most likely to have over $500 in their savings, with 47 percent reporting that they could cover it.
“Not surprisingly in Bankrate's survey, those with higher incomes were most likely to say they would rely on savings for emergencies. Over half, 54 percent, of those earning $75,000 or more annually said they would pony up the cash for an unexpected expense,” the report states. “Only 23 percent of people with yearly incomes less than $30,000 said they would use savings. And 9 percent of respondents in this income level said they don't know how they would pay for an unexpected expense.”
In November 2016, a poll by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that one third of American families do not have any savings.