Most of the news about Social Security is usually doom and gloom. Recent financial reports show we’re still on track to run out of money in the reserves within 15 years. So it’s a bit surprising that a recent Gallup poll shows that fewer people than ever are worried about Social Security.
With the exception of 2009, Gallup has polled the American public in March every year between 2005 and 2019, asking them, “How much do you personally worry about the Social Security system?” The possible answers for respondents are: 1) Great deal, 2) Fair amount, 3) Only a little, 4) Not at all, or they could simply have no opinion, which is the default fifth choice.
In the March 2019 survey, 41% of respondents claimed that they had a “great deal” of worry about Social Security, which is the lowest on record, with 26% having a “fair amount” of concern. This combined 67% of people who clearly are concerned about the most important social program is the lowest reading in 14 years, and notably lower than the combined 79% who had a great deal or fair amount of worry about Social Security in March 2010.
The Gallup report doesn’t offer explanations for its data, but a Motley Fool author posits that 1) Americans are encouraged by higher personal saving rates and stock market strength. The public is getting the message that they need to save, and future generations plan to rely less on the Social Security system at all. Or, 2) Economic growth in 2018 appears to have delayed the point at which Social Security would suffer a net-cash outflow, which could have lessened pessimism.
Still, even a “new low” means that two out of three Americans are still worried about Social Security’s future.