Tariff talk, or the back and forth between the U.S. and China on finalizing a trade policy, still remains at the forefront of the news, even alongside the impeachment inquiry. In the second installment of the CivicScience Tariff Monitor, new data reveals that since the initial reading in September, more Americans are taking note of trade policy uncertainty in their daily lives.

Adult consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of trade policies / tariffs on their household expenses. As of October, the largest number of U.S. adults (67%) are concerned about the impact of recent trade policies and tariffs as it relates to their household expenses. The number of people ‘not at all concerned’ about it has reached its lowest point (33%) with no immediate signs of stopping.

We can connect this to the fact that consumers are noticing higher prices. People are increasingly noticing that everyday household items are costing them more, but the number of people who say they are buying less due to it remains flat month over month. We expect this could change in the next reading.

Independents are Buying Less

Things remain practically the same when it comes to political leaning and concern. Generally the same proportion of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans make up each bucket on the concern scale. 

However, looking at impact and political leaning does note a change month over month: Independents have grown in the ‘buying less’ category:

Young Folks are Increasingly Unfazed

When it comes to the general concern over tariffs, young folks couldn’t care less. Scratch that – they could. In September, 18-29-year-olds made up 25% of the ‘Not at all concerned’ group. In October that jumped to 31%.

Moreover, when we look at the age breakdown compared to how tariffs have impacted household spending we see older Americans, perhaps the most vulnerable in terms of budgets, have become more affected. There are more older Americans buying less because prices are higher month over month.


Overall, the increased concern and impact in household spending appear to be moving in a direction where more Americans are taking note and seeing tariffs as something that could cut into their bottom line. As the holiday shopping season is fully underway, CivicScience will be tracking these trends and report back next month.