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AARP Bulletin Survey on Social Security

This and Related Reports

The AARP Bulletin commissioned a nationwide survey on Social Security asking people aged 18 years and older about their planned or actual sources of income in retirement and asking people at least 50 years old whether they think Social Security will be (or is) more, less, or equally important to their retirement income than they thought it would be in their 20’s or 30’s. It also addressed whether people favor or oppose cutting Social Security as a way to help reduce the deficit

Key findings from the survey include the following:
•    Almost a third (31%) of people aged 18+ rely or plan to rely on Social Security “in a substantial way” for their retirement income, and over half (55%) of people aged 65+ say they do or plan to. However, nearly four in ten adults under age 35 (39%) say they “do not plan to rely on Social Security at all” for their retirement income.

•    A quarter (25%) of adults say they rely or plan to rely most on payments from Social Security for their retirement income. This is the most commonly cited largest source of retirement income. People aged 50+ are more likely to say they rely or plan to rely most on payments from Social Security for their retirement income than people under 50 (41% vs. 13%).

•    When people aged 50+ are asked whether they think Social Security is or will be more, less, or equally important to their retirement income than they thought it would be when they were in their 20’s or 30’s, 65% say at least equally important, with fully half (50%) saying more important. A third (34%) think it is or will be “much” more important than they did when they were younger.

•    Over eight in ten people (81%) oppose cutting Social Security as a way to help reduce the deficit. In fact, over seven in ten (71%) “strongly” oppose it. Moreover, opposition to cutting Social Security as a way to help reduce the deficit is high across age groups.

The survey was conducted via telephone by SSRS from May 12-16, 2010 among a nationally representative sample of 1,004 respondents aged 18 and older.  

For more information, please contact Colette Thayer at (202) 434-6294.

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