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Forget the stock market’s roller coaster – many Americans struggle with income volatility

February 16, 2018

The stock market’s up-and-down ride has grabbed breathless news coverage in the past week, but many Americans are far more familiar with another kind of roller coaster: Income volatility.

The term refers to monthly and annual dips and jumps in income that families experience. It’s not an issue that gets a lot of attention in news about the country’s economic health, but it’s common: More than one-third (34%) of households experienced a 25% or more change in income year-to-year between 2014 and 2015, according to an analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a Washington, D.C. think tank.

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