Gallup: Paying for Kids’ College Top American Financial Worry

By Brittany M. Hughes | April 20, 2015 | 2:02 PM EDT

( -- More parents in the United States say paying for their children’s college education is their chief financial worry, ranking it above saving for retirement, unforeseen medical expenses, paying bills or maintaining their lifestyle, according to a recent Gallup poll.

(AP Photo)

The poll showed 73 percent of Americans with children younger than 18 say they are "very worried" or "moderately worried" about paying for their children’s higher education.

“Parents worry more about college funding even more than the most financially vulnerable group – low-income Americans -- worry about any financial matter,” Gallup noted in its analysis.

Seventy percent of those making less than $30,000 per year say they worry about paying for medical expenses – still three percent less than those parents of kids under 18 who say they worry about college tuition.

About 77 percent of parents earning less than $100,000 per year say they worry about how they will pay for their children’s college, compared to 61 percent of those earning more than $100,000 per year, the data showed. Among those earning less than $30,000 per year, 85 percent say they worry about affording college tuition.

“Parents thus face twin challenges of paying for ever-escalating college expenses for one or more children and saving for their own retirement. And parents worry a great deal about both, but slightly more about college (73%) than retirement (68%),” Gallup noted.

(AP Photo)

Among those who do not have children under 18, saving for retirement ranked the top financial worry at 56 percent, the poll showed.

“Since 2001, Gallup has asked more than 16,000 Americans how much they worry about each of eight separate financial matters, ranging from having enough money for retirement to making minimum payments on credit cards,” Gallup explained in its analysis, adding, “[t]he rank order of these fundamental financial concerns has not varied much over time, although the percentage expressing worry in any given year can vary depending on the strength of the economy.”

Gallup gathered the data from combined annual surveys each April from 2001 to 2015. The combined surveys polled 16,302 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including 4,431 adults with children 18 and over. The margin of error for this sample is +/- 2 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

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