survey finds public confidence and reliance on Social Security
increase as program celebrates 70th anniversary...Capitol Hill rally
to mark the anniversary
coincide with the 70th anniversary of Social Security, AARP has
released a new survey that tracks public perceptions about Social
Security over three decades. Not only has public confidence in
Social Security increased in recent years according to the poll, but
Social Security has also surpassed pensions and savings as the top
source of income Americans expect to rely on in retirement.
Social Security 70th Anniversary Survey Report: Trends over Time,
repeats previous surveys conducted by AARP for the 50th (1985) and
60th (1995) anniversaries of Social Security. While all the previous
surveys demonstrated the high regard that the American public has
for Social Security, this latest installment shows that Americans
are becoming increasingly informed about the program and are aware
of the role it plays for beneficiaries. The survey shows an increase
of 8 percentage points among those who consider themselves to be at
least fairly well informed
between 1995 (70%) and 2005 (78%). This may be a result of the very
public debate about the future of Social Security.
Social Security Anniversary Survey data demonstrate that the primary
focus on personal or private accounts during 2005 has broadened and strengthened
positive attitudes towards Social Security rather than weakened them.
when asked which sources of retirement income on which they plan to
rely, Social Security is
rated a very close second to money
accumulated through savings and investments. Further,
Social Security is ranked as the most important source of income
respondents expect to rely, or actually do rely upon, in retirement.
Nearly one in three (30%) either currently rely most on Social
Security for retirement income or plan to rely on it most.
percentage point increase in the number of Americans who lack confidence that they
could do better on their own investing the money they put into
Social Security - from 39 percent lacking confidence in 1995 to 44
percent in 2005.
agreement between 1995 and
2005 (from 78% to 83%) with the statement, "Social Security provides financial
security for the people I know who receive it; without Social
Security they would really suffer." The percentage of
those who agreed completely
increased from 53 percent in 1995 to 60 percent in 2005.
with the statement that everyone who
pays into Social Security should receive it no matter what income
they have increased 6 percentage points in 2005, to 81
percent, with almost two-thirds
three-quarters (73%) of non-retired respondents in the 1995 survey
and three-quarters (75%) in the 2005 survey reject the option of getting
out of the Social Security system if offered the choice and say they
should stay in and support the system.
Approximately 9 in 10 non-retired Americans agree (91% in 1995 and
88% in 2005) that "Maybe I won't need
Social Security when I retire, but I definitely want to know it's
there just in case I do."
1985, 43 percent of non-retirees said that the statement, "I'm worried that I may not have enough
money to get by on when I retire," very much described
themselves, in the 2005 survey only 33 percent agreed with this
percentage of those who consider themselves to be very well informed about
Social Security nearly doubled between 1995 (14%) and 2005 (24%).
Policy Director John Rother said, "Despite the heated debate — and
maybe even because of the debate — about Social Security this year,
Americans continue to value the certainty of Social Security's
benefits, a clear argument for improving the program's solvency for
our children and grandchildren."
the Social Security anniversary, AARP will hold a rally on Capitol
Hill today with other supporters of Social Security solvency. The
Association has collected more than 1.5 million petitions from
members who oppose private accounts that drain funds from Social
commissioned a survey research firm — GFK-NOP — to conduct the
national random digit dial telephone survey of 1,200 adults, age 18
and above. A total of 929 respondents were non-retirees and 271 were
retired. Interviews were conducted between July 18th and July 26th
of 2005. For additional details about the survey's methodology and
to view a full copy of the report visit