On Social Security’s 85th Anniversary, Survey Finds Nearly All Americans View Social Security as an Important Program

Posted on 08/14/20

For immediate release
Aug. 15, 2020

Media contact: Dave Bruns
850.228.2759 or dbruns@aarp.org

Majority Believe it is More Important in Light of Pandemic

St. Petersburg, Fla. — A new AARP survey, released in conjunction with Social Security’s 85th anniversary, confirms that Americans highly value Social Security, and value it even more due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than nine out of 10 Republicans, Democrats and independents see Social Security as an important government program, and 56 percent believe it is even more important for retirees in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the survey shows.

“This nationwide survey confirms what AARP members in Florida have long told us – across all party lines, Americans overwhelmingly support keeping Social Security strong today, tomorrow and for future generations,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director. “Workers have paid into Social Security with every paycheck. It’s a hard-earned benefit and a promise that must be kept. AARP will never stop fighting to strengthen Social Security, and make sure hard-working Americans get the benefits they’ve earned.”

In a letter sent yesterday to President Trump, AARP asked him to explain his plan to replace Social Security funding.

Social Security is critical to Florida, pumping more than $6.6 billion per month into the state’s economy, even in economic downturns. More than 3.5 million Floridians receive Social Security retirement benefits, and the program accounts for half or more of their income for 54 percent of them. For one in four, Social Security provides 90 percent or more of their income.

Traditionally described as America’s grayest state, Florida boasts a 65-plus population that is 20.4 of its total population.

“AARP Florida is fighting to protect voters 50-plus and make their voices heard on the issues that matter – protecting Social Security and Medicare, lowering prescription drug prices, and ensuring you can vote safely from home or in-person,” said Johnson.

AARP’s survey found that Social Security is a key source of income and economic stability in retirement, but they have concerns about whether it will be enough. The new AARP survey showed that 93 percent of Republicans, 99 percent of Democrats and 92 percent of independents agree Social Security is an important government program.

  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) are worried that Social Security will not provide enough to live on during their retirement.
  • Two-thirds of Americans believe the average monthly Social Security retirement benefit of $1503 per month is too low. Nearly 3 in 5 Americans are not confident in the future of Social Security, with confidence in the program lowest among 30-49-year-olds at only 28%.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 Americans (39 percent) say they do or will rely on Social Security for a substantial portion of their retirement income and 4 out of 5 expect it to be part of their retirement income.

Social Security is a key component of AARP Florida’s “Protect Voters 50+” campaign, which launched August 3. The initiative is calling on the presidential candidates to tell us their plan to protect Social Security for current and future generations, and helping voters cast their votes safely from home or in-person this November.

This survey was conducted among 1,441 Americans 18 and older between July 14, 2020 and July 27, 2020 with a confidence interval of ± 3.4% at the 95% confidence level.

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities
and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.