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2015 Retirement Confidence Survey — 2015 Results

May 22, 2015 Comments off

2015 Retirement Confidence Survey — 2015 Results
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute
From press release (PDF):

American workers and retirees are expressing higher confidence about their ability to afford retirement this year, even though there is little sign they are taking the necessary steps to achieve that goal, according to the 25th annual Retirement Confidence Survey—the longest-running survey of its kind.

A key factor in American’s outlook on retirement is whether or not they have a retirement savings plan. The 2015 RCS by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates finds that as the nation’s retirement confidence continues to rebound from the record lows experienced between 2009 and 2013, the increasing optimism is a result of those who indicate they and/or their spouse have a retirement plan, such as a defined contribution (401(k)-type) plan, defined benefit (pension) plan, or individual retirement account (IRA).

Survey | Deep Divide Between Black and White Americans on Criminal Justice System’s Racial Equality; Persists from Rodney King to Freddie Gray

May 12, 2015 Comments off

Survey | Deep Divide Between Black and White Americans on Criminal Justice System’s Racial Equality; Persists from Rodney King to Freddie Gray
Source: Public Religion Research Institute
From press release:

In the wake of protests following Freddie Gray’s death while in Baltimore police custody, a new survey released today finds a nearly 30-percentage point gap between black and white Americans’ perceptions of the fairness within the criminal justice system. Only 17 percent of black Americans agree that blacks and other minorities receive the same treatment as whites do in the criminal justice system, compared to 78 percent who disagree. By contrast, white Americans are nearly evenly divided—46 percent agree vs. 47 percent disagree. Looking at trends on this issue, the new survey shows that racial perception gaps today are only slightly smaller than those measured in 1992 by an ABC News/Washington Post poll at the time of the protests and riots that followed the Rodney King verdict. The new survey also finds that white Americans are nearly four times as likely as black Americans to say that police officers treat people equally (47 percent vs. 12 percent).

Employer Perspectives on the Health Insurance Market: A Survey of Businesses in the United States

May 6, 2015 Comments off

Employer Perspectives on the Health Insurance Market: A Survey of Businesses in the United States
Source: AP-NORC Center

A new, nationally representative survey of employers in the United States, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that many employers that offer health insurance to employees are unfamiliar with objective metrics of health plan quality information, and most consider costs both to their organization and their employees as important factors when selecting plans. The survey also finds that employers are looking to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as they make significant decisions on the benefits they offer, with the costs of health plans as a key consideration.

As employers change their purchasing behaviors to accommodate ACA requirements and as the health insurance marketplace evolves as a result of employers’ new purchasing decisions, this survey provides timely data on the quality information employers offering insurance do, or in many cases, do not, use when evaluating plans. The survey also provides insights into employers’ key considerations when choosing health insurance plans. Further, the survey shows how employers in general view the impact of the ACA as businesses consider changing employee benefits, and also provides data on employers’ wellness program offerings and promotion strategies.

Time Period, Generational, and Age Differences in Tolerance for Controversial Beliefs and Lifestyles in the United States, 1972–2012

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Time Period, Generational, and Age Differences in Tolerance for Controversial Beliefs and Lifestyles in the United States, 1972–2012
Source: Social Forces

Americans have become increasingly tolerant of controversial outgroups in results from the nationally representative General Social Survey (1972–2012, N = 35,048). Specifically, adults in the 2010s (versus the 1970s and 1980s) were more likely to agree that Communists, homosexuals, the anti-religious, militarists, and those believing Blacks are genetically inferior should be allowed to give a public speech, teach at a college, or have a book in a local library. Cross-classification hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analyses separating the effects of time period, cohort/generation, and age show that these trends were driven by both a linear time period effect and a curvilinear cohort effect, with those born in the late 1940s (Boomers) the most tolerant when age and time period were controlled. Tolerance of homosexuals increased the most, and tolerance of racists the least. The increase in tolerance is positively correlated with higher levels of education and individualistic attitudes, including rejecting traditional social rules, but is negatively correlated with changes in empathy.

Americans’ Views of the Retirement Crisis

April 28, 2015 Comments off

Americans’ Views of the Retirement Crisis
Source: National Institute on Retirement Security

A new nationwide public opinion research report finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans – 86 percent – believe the nation faces a retirement crisis.

This biennial nationwide public opinion research is the fourth poll that measures how Americans feel about their financial security in retirement and assesses their views on policies that could improve their retirement outlook. It is intended to serve as a tool for policymakers, thought leaders and retirement service providers as they work to stem the retirement crisis and re-fortify the U.S. retirement infrastructure.

Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2015 — Fifth Annual Update on the Retirement Preparedness of the Boomer Generation

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2015 — Fifth Annual Update on the Retirement Preparedness of the Boomer Generation (PDF)
Source: Insured Retirement Institute

Each year the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) conducts a survey to measure the retirement preparedness of the Boomer generation. This report, the fifth in the series, summarizes the results of the 2015 survey and analyzes key changes over the past five years.

As Baby Boomers age, and as more members of the cohort are either in or very near retirement, the survey responses are changing. For an increasing number of Boomers, especially those that have not taken steps to plan effectively, retirement reality is not aligning with retirement expectations.

Overall satisfaction fell considerably in this year’s study, following a significant decline last year. However, respondents who have taken steps to prepare for retirement, such as working with financial advisors, calculating retirement goals, purchasing retirement income products such as annuities, and developing retirement plans report much higher levels of overall economic satisfaction and retirement preparedness. As we’ll see in the detailed study results, Boomers who have prepared, and have realistic expectations, for retirement are much more likely to report overall satisfaction, confidence in their retirement readiness, and progress toward a secure retirement.

Assessing the Political Impact of Immigration as the United Kingdom Heads to the Polls

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Assessing the Political Impact of Immigration as the United Kingdom Heads to the Polls
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigration has featured early in the opening week of the United Kingdom’s general election campaign, which officially began on March 30, 2015. Prime Minister David Cameron was pressed on the issue in a televised interview and the Labour Party was criticized for producing campaign mugs emblazoned with pledges to control immigration.

As voters head to the polls on May 7, it remains to be seen how central the often-roiled debate over migration will be in what is a deeply unsettled election year. Immigration is a key political issue, brought about through major changes in immigration patterns over the past two decades, significant policy changes that have failed to reassure the public, and the rise as a political force of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)—which has pressed for a temporary ban on new immigration. Paradoxically, immigration may have less visibility during the general election, given the issue is now political poison for the major parties.

Above all, this election cycle will determine the next stage in a long-running political fight: the question of the United Kingdom’s continued membership in the European Union and a possible voter referendum on the matter. Immigration and Europe have now become entangled in voters’ minds and it is likely that the issue of free movement within the European Union could be the determining factor for many voters in any such referendum.

This article briefly reviews the politics of immigration in the United Kingdom since 2010 before examining whether immigration will impact the election and exploring how immigration politics will develop in the future, particularly in regard to the United Kingdom’s place in Europe.

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