Skip to content Skip to navigation

Poll: America not ready for aging population

May 12, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
| Reprints

Participants in a recent Harris poll were divided when asked whether American society will be able to afford having more people live to 80, 90 or even 100 years. Thirty-four percent said it will, whereas 38 percent said it will not and 27 percent said they’re not sure.

More than 2,000 adults were surveyed in January. Additional findings:

  • 51 percent of respondents said they believe the healthcare system will not be able to handle large numbers of people with chronic medical conditions, 24 percent said it will and 24 percent said they were not sure.
  • 59 percent of all adults surveyed said they do not believe that enough Medicare funds will be left to support care for them when they become eligible, and 58 percent expressed doubt that Social Security funding would be sufficient to cover them when they reach 65. Millennials and those in Generation X were even more pessimistic. Seventy percent of Millennials and 74 percent of Gen Xers said they are not counting on Medicare, and 72 percent of Millennials and 74 percent of Gen Xers indicated that they are not planning on having Social Security as part of their retirement income.
  • 43 percent of those polled said they believe that encouraging people to work past the age of 65 is the best way to control the budget deficit and address issues such as Medicare and Social Security (of the options presented to them). Thirty-three percent of survey participants said that increasing the eligibility age for benefits would be the best option. Twenty-four percent said that tax increases are a viable solution. The least popular choice was cutting benefits, and 32 percent of respondents said they didn’t like any of the options presented to them by pollsters.