Impact of Inflation on Hampden County Residents


Patrick Sweeney, Editor-in-Chief

The United States inflation crisis has been a major point of division within the country over the past few years. In 2020, shortly after the COVID outbreak, prices began rising dramatically across the country. The largest reported increase was from March 2021 to March 2022, with prices being up 8.5%, according to

The effects of inflation were felt in cities and towns all across the country, including in Hampden County, Massachusetts. A survey was sent out to the greater Hampden County community in which residents were asked about their opinion on inflation.  

Respondents remained anonymous and were asked to verify their age. Out of the fifty respondents, 26% were in the age range of 51-65, 26% were in the age range of 36-50, 24% were in the age range of 21-35 and 10% were age 20 and under. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have struggled to put food on the table thanks to record-high inflation. News outlets such as NBC Nightly News frequently aired segments showcasing the stories of families in need. The information collected in the survey was consistent with nationwide concerns. 42% of survey respondents said that they worry about the price of goods a few times per month, with 26% saying it is on their mind every day.

Recently, the prices of everyday grocery items have risen dramatically. In November 2022, Forbes reported that produce prices increased 9.3% and “meats, poultry, fish and eggs” saw an 8% rise. Survey respondents had similar concerns, with 58% seeing the highest increase in dairy products. 

Another struggle that families have faced is paying for the price of grocery store items. After years of stable prices, many consumers have expressed shock at the checkout line. The respondents of the survey were no exception. 82% of respondents stated that when checking out, they were surprised by the price of the bill. 

As the inflation crisis has raged on, debate has also surfaced about who is to blame for the rising prices. President Biden has received increased backlash about inflation from Democrats and Republicans. An article released by concluded that “53 percent of Democrats believe Biden’s policies are to blame for inflation.” Still others have laid the blame on corporations producing each good as well as the Federal Reserve.

Survey participants weighed in on this issue, with 60% claiming that the President receives the most blame for the crisis. 

As previously mentioned, the Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates to cool the rate of inflation. In 2022, they raised interest rates a total of seven times, per a report. The Federal Reserve has continued to stand by the hikes, saying that they will help struggling families and move the country out of a recession. 


Survey participants were asked whether they see any relief with the current inflation hikes by the Federal Reserve. 86% reported not seeing any changes. 

In addition, survey respondents expressed thoughts about numerous other aspects of inflation, including the relation it has to the coronavirus pandemic. One respondent stated that the pandemic led to “businesses trying to recoup lost revenue,” therefore causing prices to soar. Another respondent referred to restaurants and businesses “trying to regain their footing from lost customers.” 

Another issue raised among survey participants was the rising gas prices across the country. Although President Biden has repeatedly touted lower prices, there is still some concern. One participant referenced the fact that gas prices “affect a majority of age brackets in the US,” adding that people “have no choice but to pay the crazy amount per gallon.” 

Gas prices have fluctuated since the start of the pandemic and will continue to surprise consumers at the pump. Currently, expect gas prices to average from $3.03 – $4.88 across the United States, per a report.

Despite the higher-than-average prices, many experts have positive outlooks for the country. A recent report cited that the US might be able to avoid a recession, showing that relief may be in sight after many tumultuous years for the American people.