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REPORT: Americans Make Hard Choices on Social Security: A Survey with Trade-Off Analysis

By: Elisa A. Walker, Virginia P. Reno, and Thomas N. Bethell
Published: October 2014

Social Security is the foundation of retirement security for most Americans, but it faces a long-term financing shortfall. How do Americans want to deal with it? As policymakers grapple with how to address the shortfall, the National Academy of Social Insurance asked the American people how they would balance the program.

In addition to learning Americans’ attitudes about Social Security, this study used trade-off analysis, a market research technique, to explore the kinds of policy changes Americans want for Social Security and are willing to pay for. If Americans could choose their own policy package, what would it be? The study explores Americans’ views on Social Security across generations, income levels, and political party affiliation.

Materials will be posted on October 23, 2014.

This report updates the findings from the 2012 survey, Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want?