10/05/2011 12:47 pm ET | Updated Dec 05, 2011

Third Of Americans At Risk Of Missing Rent Or Mortgage Payment After Job Loss: Survey

One in three Americans would not be able to pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month after losing their job, according to a new survey.

The survey, cited by, found that job loss would place a severe strain on the ability of a majority of Americans to hold onto their homes. Sixty-one percent of Americans would not be able to pay for their rent or mortgage for more than five months, according to the survey.

It's not just low- and middle-class Americans that would be hit hard by job loss either. Ten percent of Americans earning $100,000 or more per year would miss a rent or mortgage payment immediately after losing their job.

The findings highlight the financial insecurity of many Americans living paycheck to paycheck. One-quarter of Americans do not have any emergency savings at all, according to a survey by And more than half of Americans would not be able to pay for at least three months' expenses in case of an emergency.

Indeed, most Americans say they would not be able to make an unexpected expense of at least $1,000, and just 36 percent of Americans say they would use their own savings, according to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Only a quarter of Americans definitely could find a way to pay for an unexpected $2,000 expense, according to a Brookings Institution report released in March.

The Obama administration's efforts to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages have languished. Half of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $1 billion program to help jobless homeowners pay for their mortgages will go unspent, since just 10 to 15 percent of applicants qualified for the program's strict guidelines, according to CNN Money.

Congress also redirected $30 billion from the bailout, which the government originally slated for struggling homeowners, toward paying down the debt. The U.S. will spend just $12 billion out of its promised $50 billion to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in November.

Experts have said that the recovery of the housing market depends on a broader American economic recovery. So long as unemployment remains high, foreclosed homes are likely to continue to weigh down on housing prices.