Most Americans say $600 stimulus checks are “too little”

Linley SandersData Journalist
December 21, 2020, 6:00 PM UTC

Congress approved a $900 billion stimulus package on Sunday night that is designed to provide economic relief to the country, but Americans are unlikely to be pleased with the second round of stimulus checks.

A YouGov poll conducted December 19 - 20 shows that seven in ten Americans (70%) describe the $600 stimulus checks that were ultimately included in the deal as “too little.” Americans with a household income of $40,000 to $80,000 are especially likely to believe the amount of money is not generous enough (77%). Seven in ten Americans with household incomes of $40,000 or less say the amount is too little (70%), but one in five (20%) in this income bracket believe the checks are “about right.” 

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) making $80,000 or more agree the $600 is not sufficient, but nearly one in five (17%) say the amount is about right, and one in 13 (7%) say the funds are “too much.” 

Americans working full-time (72%), part-time (69%), and those not working (73%) all agree that the funds are too little. 

In April, qualifying Americans received $1,200 stimulus checks to offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A YouGov poll conducted after the $1,200 stimulus checks were announced found that 42% believed that amount was too little, while one-third (36%) believed the amount was fair. 

The finalized December stimulus checks will provide $600 per adult and dependent child in a household. About one-quarter of Americans (28%) say they would pay bills with most of their upcoming funds, compared to 35% of Americans who said the same in April. Americans today are much more likely to say they intend to use the $600 to pay down debts (17%) compared to April (8%).  

They are similarly likely to be putting most of the dollars into an emergency savings fund (20% vs 18% in April), or buying essential items, like food or hygiene products (14% vs 16%). 

Americans with a household income less than $40,000 annually are more likely to use the $600 stimulus check to pay their bills (31%) compared to 24% of those making $80,000 or more. Americans making less than $40,000 (15%) or between $40,000 to $80,000 (15%) are more likely than their wealthier counterparts (9%) to spend their money on essentials.  

Those with a household income of $80,000 or more are more likely than those with a household income of $40,000 or less to pay off existing debts (20% vs 15%), put the money toward the stock market (5% vs 1%) or give the money to charity (4% vs 1%) or give to family and friends (4% vs 1%).  

See the toplines from this YouGov Poll and see the data from March and April 

Related: 30% of Americans are spending less on holiday gifts this year 

Methodology: This YouGov Direct poll was conducted among 2,504 US Adults ages 18+. This survey was conducted between December 19 at 5:30 p.m. EST to December 20, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. EST. This data was weighted according to age, gender, race, and education to provide a nationally representative sample of the United States. The margin of error for the entire sample is ±2.7% 

Image: Getty