Question wording: "How important do you think each of the following things is in helping retired people stay healthy?”
Availability of Public Transportation
Asked of random selection of retirees and pre-retirees;
Responses may not add to 100% due to rounding and a nominal number who answered “Don’t Know” or refused to answer this item.
About "Healthy Communities for Retirement"
This interactive tool explores public perceptions of what makes a community a healthy place for retired people. It was created from a national poll released in September 2011 as part of an on-going series of surveys developed by researchers at the Harvard Opinion Research Program (HORP) at the Harvard School of Public Health in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and NPR. The tool was produced by the Center for Digital Information, a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative based in Washington, DC and affiliated with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Funding was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Learn more about and its mission at http://digitalinfo.org
In the coming years, an increasing number of Americans will reach an age when they will consider retirement. This will include many people who represent the "baby boomer" generation. Given the different experiences and values of this demographic group, as well as the changing nature of the American life, the nature of retirement itself may change. This poll was conducted in order to capture first-hand the perspective of those who will shape the nature of retirement moving forward: people over age 50, including not only people who have retired, but also people who plan to retire ("pre-retirees") and those who do not plan to do so.
This interactive tool focuses on a set of 15 questions that measured perceptions of what characteristics make a community a healthy place for retirees.
The complete poll covered the following areas:
- 1 The retirement experience of retirees and the expectations of pre-retirees
- 2Perspectives on the timing of retirement
- 3Steps taken to stay healthy in retirement
- 4Views on the role of Medicare and Medicaid in retirement
- 5Perceptions of what makes a community a healthy place for retired people
- 6Concerns about being admitted to a nursing home during retirement.
While pre-retirees and retirees agree on many community characteristics that keep retirees healthy, retirees draw attention to drug store access and pre-retirees emphasize space for physical activity. Many people who retire may move from their current home to a new community or re-consider the characteristics of their existing communities from a new perspective. There is widespread agreement among both groups about the top aspects of communities that help retired people stay healthy.
The top factors include:
Clean air and water (88% pre-retirees, 90% retirees responded "very imporant"); low crime rate (86% pre-retirees, 80% retirees "very important"); access to affordable fruits and vegetables (83% pre-retirees, 79% retirees say "very important"); access to high quality doctors and hospitals (82% pre-retirees, 84% retirees say "very important"); In addition, pre-retirees are more likely than retirees to report that access to outdoor space for walking, jogging, and sports is "very important" (80% pre-retirees vs. 68% retirees), while retirees are more likely to report the importance of access to pharmacies or drug stores (77% retirees vs. 65% pre-retirees say "very important").
Interviews were conducted via telephone (including both landline and cell phone) by SSRS/ICR of Media (PA) July 25 to August 18, 2011 among a nationally representative sample of 1,254 adults over 50. It includes 755 retirees and 409 pre-retirees (those who have not retired but plan to). The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.32% at the 95% confidence level.
Possible sources of non-sampling error include non-response bias, as well as question wording and ordering effects. Non-response in telephone surveys produces some known biases in survey-derived estimates because participation tends to vary for different subgroups of the population. To compensate for these known biases and for variations in probability of selection within and across households, sample data are weighted by household size, cell phone/landline use and demographics (sex, age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status and census region) to reflect the true population. Other techniques, including random-digit dialing, replicate subsamples, and systematic respondent selection within households, are used to ensure that the sample is representative.
At a Glance
Sample Size1,254 Adults over 50
( 409 Pre-retirees & 755 Retirees )
Margin of Error+/– 3.32% for the full sample
( 95% Confidence )
Field DatesJuly 25 to August 18, 2011
The research team consists of the following members at each institution:
Harvard School of Public Health
Robert J. Blendon, Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis and Executive Director of HORP
Gillian K. SteelFisher, Research Scientist and Assistant Director of HORP
Johanna Mailhot, Research Specialist
Eran Ben-Porath of SSRS/ICR, an independent research company
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Fred Mann, Interim Vice President, Communications
Kate Sullivan Hare, Director Policy Outreach and Public Affairs
David Colby, Vice President, Research and Evaluation
Joe Neel, Deputy Senior Supervising Editor
Anne Gudenkauf, Senior Supervising Editor, Science Desk
Steve Drummond, Senior National Editor