For all the talk about a strong economy, many Americans think they've become worse off financially over the past year.

According to a recent Monmouth University poll, 46% of Americans said they are struggling to remain where they are financially, compared to 45% who reported being “basically stable” in their financial health.

Only 9% of survey respondents said their financial picture had improved.

By far, the biggest source of financial worry and strain is inflation, with 24% of survey respondents saying “rising prices” are making life harder.

“Even with a declining inflation rate, prices continue to be much higher than they were four years ago,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), fell to 3.3% in May, down from a peak of 9.1% in mid-2022. But while inflation growth has cooled, prices keep soaring year over year.

As Creditnews reported, consumer prices are up more than 20% since the pandemic, led by record growth of food and housing costs.

In addition to higher prices, respondents in the Monmouth survey cited “the economy” and “everyday bills” as their second and third biggest concerns, respectively.

Americans aren’t buying it

The report comes at a time when the Biden administration is taking a victory lap for a supposedly strong and stable economy.

The White House goes so far as to claim that it’s been 25 years since the economy has performed so well at this stage in a presidential term, thanks to low unemployment and steady GDP growth.

According to recent survey data, Americans aren't buying this narrative.

A Harris poll conducted for The Guardian found that 56% of U.S. adults believe the economy is experiencing a recession. It’s not difficult to understand where they’re coming from.

In addition to the Monmouth survey, a recent study commissioned by the National Trust Cost of Living Coalition found that 65% of middle-class Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

The respondents said they had been barely affording rent, cutting retirement savings, and had very few safety nets in case of an emergency.

The results suggest that a huge swathe of the population isn’t feeling the benefits of what's supposed to be a strong economy.

To be clear, the U.S. still hasn’t met the technical definition of a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. But economists warn that the recession risk is much higher than it was last year.

A recent analysis by the New York Fed shows the odds of a recession over the next 12 months have grown to 51.8%.