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Social Security Still Popular at 85

Social Security Opinions and Attitudes on Its 85th Anniversary

The Social Security Act celebrates its 85th anniversary on August 14, 2020. The legislation provides retirement benefits to millions of American workers. Social Security still enjoys strong support from Americans across generations and political parties.

To celebrate this anniversary, AARP commissioned a national survey to solicit adults' views on Social Security, its fifth survey celebrating the program. Support for Social Security has remained consistent over time. 

Key Findings

  • A strong majority (96%) of Americans say that Social Security is an important program.
  • Americans recognize that Social Security plays an especially important role during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than half (56%) indicated that Social Security is more important during the pandemic that it was before the pandemic started.
  • Few agree that the program is driving up the deficit and the vast majority are reluctant to reduce benefits for solvency. 
  • A majority Americans (82%) say they will rely on Social Security at least somewhat for their retirement income, but fewer than half (39%) say they will or do rely on Social Security the most out of all income sources for retirement.


AARP commissioned a national survey of 1,441 adults ages 18 and older to understand their attitudes and opinions on Social Security. The interview was conducted July 14–27, 2020 online and by telephone. The data are weighted by age, gender, census division, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment, obtained from the February 2020 Current Population Survey.


Suggested citation:

Perron, Rebecca. Social Security Opinions and Attitudes on Its 85th Anniversary. Washington, DC: AARP Research, August 2020.

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