An increasing number of Americans are living very close to the edge. Almost one quarter (23%) have less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency while 46% report having less than $800, according to a new national survey by online lender CashNetUSA.com.

Americans with children under the age of 18 face even greater financial distress, with more than half (55%) having less than $800 in emergency savings. Individuals living in the Northeastern and Western regions are slightly better off than the rest of the country.  Six in 10 Americans living in these regions have $800 or more in savings, according to the survey.

About four in 10 (41%) would likely turn to a family member for a loan if they faced a short-term emergency. Three in 10 definitely or probably would not.

"Too many Americans are facing a cash crisis, unprepared financially to handle life's unexpected emergencies and family can only help so much," Keth Weinberger, senior director of marketing and new initiatives for CashNetUSA.com, said in a statement.

Women (44%) were slightly more willing than men (38%) to ask a family member for a loan if they faced a short-term emergency. Americans with children (46%) were also more likely to ask family for a loan than those without children (38%).

Also more likely to ask for family loans: younger Americans. Individuals under 30 (54%) were most likely to reach out to family members for loans, following by those 30 to 39 (48%), those 40 to 49 (40%), those 50 to 59 (33%), and those 60 plus (30%).

The survey was conducted online in February 2012 by TNS Omnibus among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans.