Public support for social security

Fay Lomax Cook*, Edith J. Barrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article reports the results of a nationally representative survey of 1,209 Americans that examines their support for Social Security and six other major social welfare programs. It probes the extent to which members of the public are willing to demonstrate their support, the differences in support among population subgroups, and the extent to which perceptions of Social Security and Social Security recipients predict overall support for Social Security. The authors find high levels of support among members of the public, including a willingness both to write letters to congress members and to pay higher taxes. Some groups of citizens-especially blacks and those who classify themselves as liberals-are more supportive than others, but the differences are not great and contribute little toward explaining the variance in support. The perceptions that the program makes a worthwhile contribution to society and that recipients have no alternative sources of income other than Social Security contribute the most toward predicting overall support for Social Security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-356
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy


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