Do 40 Percent of Americans Have Less Than $400 in the Bank?

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar claimed on Twitter Sunday that 40 percent of people in the United States have less than $400 in their bank accounts.

The claim also made recent appearances in comments by Sen. Bernie Sanders, an article published by Salon, and a National Interest article, among other media exploring the economic impact of coronavirus.

The 40 percent number seems to be pulled from the Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018, which found that 61 percent of Americans said they would be able to cover a hypothetical expense of $400 using cash they had on hand, savings, or a credit card which would then be paid off on their next statement. In that same report, 27 percent of respondents said they would cover the expense some other way, such as carrying a balance on their credit card or borrowing from friends and family, and 12 percent said they would be unable to cover the expense at all. 

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