With the 2016 presidential election looming just months away, Americans are paying close attention to the economic issues that affect the nation, a press release from GOBankingRates notes. The economy is consistently ranked as the most important problem facing the nation today, according to a 2016 Gallup poll, with results showing that 39% of voters rank economic problems ahead of other issues such as immigration, racism and terrorism.
Economic issues encompass numerous concerns, however, and understanding which specific financial elements Americans’ view as most challenging for the United States can offer insight into how Americans are assessing the country’s problems. GOBankingRates’ Financial Burdens Survey reveals what Americans’ believe are the biggest financial problems for the U.S. Survey respondents ranked the country’s financial burdens below from most significant (ranked No.1) to least (ranked No. 6):
- Healthcare costs
- Social Security benefits
- Higher education costs
- Tax increases
- Income inequality
- Military spending
Respondents were also asked questions to obtain demographic information, including political leanings and household makeup. The results show how Americans’ views of the country’s economic challenges reflect which financial issues might have the most immediate effect on them, as well as how challenges are prioritized differently through the lens of gender or political affiliation.
Healthcare Costs Viewed as the Top Burden on U.S. Economy
Healthcare costs in the United States are the most worrying economic issue for Americans, the survey found. “Healthcare costs impact every individual, which makes it a huge concern for the country as a whole,” said Kristen Bonner, the research lead for GOBankingRates’ Financial Burdens Survey. “Every age group, with the exception of people under 24 years old and people over 65, chose healthcare costs as most significant more than any other factor.” People’s firsthand experience with the hardships of healthcare costs means many Americans give this issue more weight:
- Healthcare costs were selected as the No. 1 financial burden on the American economy 31 percent of the time, about twice as often as any other option.
- Ranking economic issues on a scale from 1 (most significant) to 6 (least significant), respondents ranked healthcare costs higher than any other issue most frequently, giving it an average rank of 2.45.
This survey was conducted by GOBankingRates through Survata and collected 1,007 responses from March 16-17, 2016, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. It posed two main questions asking Americans about what they considered to be the most significant financial burdens for the U.S. economy and for their personal finances.