Data and Research

Majority of American Workers Back State-Run Plans for Private Sector

AARP finds this is especially true among different ethnic groups.

By Rebecca Moore | March 17, 2017
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An AARP survey shows that the vast majority (84%) of American private-sector workers “strongly or somewhat agree” that officials should back legislation to enable workers “to save their own money for retirement.”

The survey of nearly 4,000 workers ages 18 to 64 included a significant oversampling of African Americans, Latinos/as and Asian Americans. The survey finds strong backing across all races, ethnicities and political ideologies for elected officials to clear the way for employee savings initiatives. The total agreeing that lawmakers should support positive legislative action includes 89% of Asian Americans, 86% of whites, 83% of African Americans and 78% of Latinos/as.

The study, conducted between last November and mid-January, comes against a background of increasing interest in the states in the state-based plans for private employers who do not currently provide workplace retirement plans, AARP notes.  Thus far, seven states—Illinois, Washington State, Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and California—have approved various versions of what AARP calls “Work and Save” programs.

But the research also comes against a backdrop of controversial Congressional deliberations over the future of state-based plans. The Senate is currently considering legislation that could have a negative impact on the state initiatives. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed resolutions ordering a halt of Department of Labor (DOL) rules about state-run plans.

“Our survey shows that Congress’ actions to limit state flexibility to address retirement insecurity are seriously out of touch with the will of voters, who resoundingly, across party-lines, approve of these state retirement initiatives,” says AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.

NEXT: Three-quarters of private-sector workers feel anxious about retirement.