Poll Finds Americans Say Health Care Costs Their Most Pressing Financial Problem

May 31, 2019 by Dan McCue

Americans are more likely to name healthcare costs than any other issue when asked to say what is the most important financial problem facing their family, a recent Gallup poll found.

In a survey conducted April 17-30, 17 percent of respondents named health care costs as their family’s greatest financial concern, followed by lack of money/low wages (11 percent) and college expenses, the cost of owning a home and taxes, which tied at 8 percent.

In 2018, lack of money/low wages topped the  list of concerns at 13 percent, followed by health care costs (12 percent) and too much debt/lack of money to pay bills, at 11 percent.

The latest Gallup survey comes at a time of general economic confidence, when relatively few Americans name economic matters as the most important problem facing the country.

Consistent with this sunny financial outlook, 20% of Americans said that they do not have a “most important financial problem.”

That is one of the highest percentages responding “none” in Gallup’s 14-year trend on the question, surpassed only by the 21% who said so in a February 2005 poll.

Gallup has asked the “most important family financial problem” question on 48 separate occasions since 2005.

During that time, only three issues — healthcare costs, energy costs/oil and gas prices and lack of money/low wages — have topped the list in any single poll.

Healthcare costs typically vied with energy costs as the top problem before the Great Recession, largely dependent on the price of gasoline.

This included a record-high 29% mentioning gas prices in July 2008, when gasoline prices averaged over $4 per gallon nationwide.

But in the ensuing periods of high unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery between 2009 and 2014, lack of money or low wages was most often the No. 1 personal financial problem.

Healthcare costs have ranked first in two of the past three surveys, and have been at least tied for first in each poll since 2014.

Mentions of energy costs have dwindled in recent years as gas prices have been lower, and in the current survey, no respondent cited energy costs as the most important financial problem.

Healthcare is the most commonly mentioned financial challenge for key subgroups and is especially likely to be named by older Americans. Twenty-five percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64, and 23% of those aged 65 and older, say healthcare costs are the biggest problem for their family’s finances.

Healthcare ties for first among adults younger than 50, who are about as likely to name lack of money, college expenses and housing costs as their greatest financial challenges. The youngest adults — those under age 30 — also commonly mention debt and the high cost of living.

Retirement savings are a greater concern for those in the pre-retirement years (aged 50 to 64), but something few young adults or senior citizens view as a problem.

Americans at different income levels are about equally likely to name healthcare as the most important financial problem, with between 17% and 19% in each income group doing so. Lack of money is, not surprisingly, a much greater concern for lower-income Americans.

Upper- and middle-income Americans are more inclined to cite college expenses, taxes and retirement savings as their chief financial challenges.

Opinion Polls

Poll Highlights Barriers for Trump and Biden in Final Weeks Before Election
Opinion Polls
Poll Highlights Barriers for Trump and Biden in Final Weeks Before Election

WASHINGTON — As the presidential race moves into its final seven weeks, with former Vice President Joe Biden holding a lead that remains steady but not conclusive, he and President Donald Trump face contrasting challenges, new data from a University of Southern California Dornsife poll show.... Read More

Millennials, Seniors are Spurning Trump. Why are Middle-Aged Voters Sticking with Him?
Opinion Polls
Millennials, Seniors are Spurning Trump. Why are Middle-Aged Voters Sticking with Him?

WASHINGTON — Generation Z loathes him. Millennials overwhelmingly back his opponent. And even once-supportive seniors have turned away. As his turbulent reelection bid enters its final phase, President Donald Trump has been hindered by lackluster approval from most generations of voters — with one important exception.... Read More

Biden Holds Big Lead Over Trump with Asian American Voters, Survey Says
Opinion Polls
Biden Holds Big Lead Over Trump with Asian American Voters, Survey Says

Asian American voters prefer Joe Biden to President Donald Trump by 54% to 30% for November’s presidential election, according to a survey released Tuesday by a coalition of Asian American civic engagement groups. It shows Democrats making another strong showing with one of the nation’s fastest-growing... Read More

Poll: Most Adults Wary of Taking Any Vaccine Approved Before the Election
Opinion Polls
Poll: Most Adults Wary of Taking Any Vaccine Approved Before the Election

The public is deeply skeptical about any coronavirus vaccine approved before the November election, and only 42% would be willing to get a vaccine in that scenario, according to a new poll. The results of the poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveal widespread concern that... Read More

Battleground States Voters Age 50 and Over Still Closely Divided on Election
Opinion Polls
Battleground States Voters Age 50 and Over Still Closely Divided on Election
September 10, 2020
by Reece Nations

Two sets of public opinion surveys commissioned by AARP across 11 key battleground states found a majority of likely voters aged 50 and older plan to cast their ballots either absentee or during the early voting period this election cycle. AARP’s poll also found similar levels... Read More

Marquette Poll Finds ‘Slight Change’ in Presidential Race Following Conventions, Kenosha Violence
Opinion Polls
Marquette Poll Finds ‘Slight Change’ in Presidential Race Following Conventions, Kenosha Violence
September 10, 2020
by Reece Nations

MILWAUKEE – Newly released polling data from the Marquette University Law School indicates that voting preferences and attitudes have changed minimally since its last survey in August. Marquette’s poll in August, conducted before unrest had been caused by shootings and protests in Kenosha, Wis., found former... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top