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Poll: Younger, older Americans may rely more on Social Security

By
Andrew V. Pestano
A Gallup poll shows that both younger and older Americans Social Security, the largest welfare program in the United States, will be a major source of income for their retirement. File Photo by Michael Kleinfeld/UPI
A Gallup poll shows that both younger and older Americans Social Security, the largest welfare program in the United States, will be a major source of income for their retirement. File Photo by Michael Kleinfeld/UPI | License Photo

May 26 (UPI) -- A Gallup poll found that both younger and older Americans who are not retired say Social Security will be a major source of income for their retirement, which projects an increase in reliance on the country's largest welfare program.

"The structure of retirement in the U.S. has changed significantly in recent decades, with a decline in pension plans and with a substantial, although slightly declining, percentage of workers who now say they will continue to work at least part time when they reach traditional retirement age," Gallup said in a statement. "And, even though the long-term solvency of the Social Security system remains unclear, Americans have become slightly more likely to say they will depend on it in retirement than they were in the past."

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Since 2001, non-retired Americans aged 18-29 and 50-64 have become somewhat more likely to say Social Security will be a "major source" of income, while the views of Americans aged 30-49 remain essentially unchanged, Gallup said.

Based on three-year rolling averages, Gallup in 2003 found that 19 percent of Americans aged 18-29 said Social Security will be a major source of income; while 27 percent of Americans aged 30-49 and 37 percent of 50-64 said the same.

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In 2017, 25 percent of Americans aged 18-29 said Social Security will be a major source of income; while 28 percent of Americans aged 30-49 and 43 percent of Americans aged 50-64 said the same.

"If the Social Security system isn't fixed, many of today's workers may be in for a shock, because those who are already retired are substantially more likely to say Social Security is a major source of income for them now than non-retirees project it will be for them in the future," Gallup added. "This discrepancy has been evident for the 16 years that Gallup has been tracking these attitudes."

Gallup's poll is based on combined telephone interviews conducted in its annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted each April since 2017. This year's poll is based on interviews with 18,336 randomly selected U.S. adults. The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.

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Gallup's poll about possible Social Security dependency follows another survey in which it found U.S. stock ownership still remains below the levels seen prior to the 2008 financial crisis for all but older, wealthy Americans.

Prior to 2008, 62 percent of U.S. adults owned stocks as standalone investments or as part of a retirement fund such as a 401(k) or individual retirement account. In 2017, that number stands at 54 percent. The only subgroup where stock ownership is higher than it was in 2008 is Americans 65 or older with household income of at least $100,000, the Gallup poll found.

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