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Millions still ‘hurting badly’

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Posted: 8 am ET

Economic data show a "very modest, but still painfully slow recovery" from the Great Recession, and one clear cause of that pain is the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, according to Harris Interactive, a polling firm based in New York, which suggested the crisis would continue "until the economy is much stronger or house prices recover."

Those conclusions came with the results of a new Harris Poll, which turned up some intriguing statistics.

Here's a summary:

Sixty-six percent of more than 3,000 adults surveyed said they had a mortgage on their home. Of those, 73 percent said they were having little or no difficulty making the payments. Twenty-two percent said they were having difficulty, and of those, 7 percent said they were having "a great deal of difficulty." Extrapolating, those percentages translate into 32 million and 11 million people, respectively.

Those numbers represented an improvement compared with last year, when 69 percent of adults said they had a mortgage, and of them, 29 percent said they were having difficult making the payments and 11 percent said they were having "a great deal of difficulty."

Overall, 62 percent of those surveyed said they were at least somewhat concerned that their household income wouldn't cover all their costs and expenses this year. That figure was lower than last year's proportion of 65 percent. However, the degree of concern was still heightened for lower-income households.

The very modest improvements in the proportions of homeowners who were struggling to pay their mortgage this year may be deceptive, because some homeowners who expressed difficulty last year have since lost their homes and no longer have a mortgage.

"Many millions of people are still hurting badly," the pollsters said in a statement, "even if the numbers are slightly better than they were last year."

Ouch.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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