Americans Aren’t Worried about Aging Population

Compared to their peers around the world, Americans aren’t too worried about global aging, according to Pew Research, perhaps because they’re aging less rapidly than many other countries. 

While fully 87% of Japanese surveyed say that aging is a problem in their country, only 26% of Americans indicated the same concern, indicate findings from the PewResearchCenter’s Global Attitudes Project.

Two other Eastern Asian countries, South Korea and China, also had high levels of concern about aging, at 79% and 67% of respondents, respectively. Indonesia and Egypt expressed the least concern, at 25% and 23%, respectively—the only two countries behind the United States. 

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“American public opinion on aging differs dramatically from the views of the nation’s major economic and political partners,” says PewResearch of its findings. “Americans are less likely than most of the global public to view the growing number of older people as a major problem. They are more confident than Europeans that they will have an adequate standard of living in their old age.”

That may be because the U.S. population is getting older and growing more slowly than in the past, says Pew, and its overall population has higher projected growth rate compared to other countries in Europe and Asia—demographic trends that could enhance future opportunities for the U.S. in the global economy. 

More than six in 10 (63%) of Americans say they’re “very” or “somewhat” confident they’ll have an adequate standard of living in old age, compared to 79% of Chinese, 77% of Brazilians, and only 20% of Russians and 23% of Italians.  

The U.S. is one of just a few countries where a majority of the public (66%) believes individuals or their families are primarily responsible for their own well-being in old age, the researchers say, rather than the government, which 24% say should bear the greatest responsibility. 

“Rarely do people see retirement expenses as mainly a personal obligation. In only four countries—South Korea, the U.S., Germany and Britain—do more than one-third of the public say that the primary responsibility for the economic well-being of people in their old age rests with the elderly themselves,” says Pew. 

Access the full report, Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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