America This Week: I Can’t Drive 65, Valentine’s Day Social Anxiety, Pharmacists are Many American’s Doctor and The Rent’s Too Damn High

The latest trends in society and culture from The Harris Poll

Yesterday, The Fed signaled that rate cuts might be delayed until June, which sent stocks tumbling. It’s like with ordinary Americans, who can’t seem to shake a sense of financial foreboding. Our America This Week poll, fielded from February 9th to 11th among 2,031 Americans, finds nearly three-quarters are concerned about affording their living expenses (73%, unchanged from October), the security of their deposits in financial institutions (60%, -1%-pt), and their job security (52%, +2%-pts). 

This week, we have four new stories: In a new WSJ-Harris Poll, Americans turn 65 this year but aren’t your typical retiree anymore. Next, we explain why Valentine’s Day isn’t all wine and roses for many Americans. Then, we find a new trend to combat a tight apartment rental market: single rooms. Lastly, a new study with CVS Health shows how pharmacists are fast becoming the first doctors many Americans see today.

America Has Never Had So Many 65-Year-Olds: WSJ-Harris Poll

More people are turning 65 this year than ever in American history. And our latest research with Age Wave in The Wall Street Journal shows they are different in many ways:

  • According to Jason Fichtner, executive director of the Retirement Income Institute and chief economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center, about 4.1 million Americans will reach 65 years old this year, reaching a surge that will continue through 2027.
  • Harris and Age Wave: “We’re not just going to kick back”
  • Adopting a higher purpose: (83%) of Americans 65+ say it’s more vital for them to feel valuable than youthful in their retirement years.
  • Staying busy with work: (59%) of pre-retirees and retirees say they want to work in some form in retirement.
  • According to The Pew Center, the number of employed Americans 65+ today is nearly double that of 35 years ago.
  • According to The CDC, more 65-year-olds met federal physical activity guidelines in 2018 than in 1998.

Takeaway: “Being 65 is not just thinking about who you were, but what you might become in a new chapter,” says Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a California-based consulting firm specializing in aging-related issues.

The High Stakes Pressure of Valentine’s Day: NerdWallet-Harris Poll

Valentine’s Day is here again today, and along with it, many codified social pressures, as our research with NerdWallet shows:

  • Six in ten (60%) Americans say there’s pressure on single people to have a date for Valentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day (yesterday) is growing in popularity as a counter-trend.
  • Pain in the wallet: Americans who plan to spend money on Valentine’s Day this year say they’ll pay an average of $188, $274 for Millennials, and $197 for Gen Z.
  • Most (72%) agree that in a heterosexual couple, the man should pay on the first date. Interestingly, men are more likely to say this than women (78% vs. 68%).
  • And over two-thirds (68%) agree that couples should discuss their finances within six months of dating.

Takeaway: “Getting on the same page financially early on can help set the tone for open and honest communication about finances throughout your relationship. Or, it could help you decide that the partnership is not a good fit. Either way, it’s information that can help you make an informed decision about where to take your relationship next,” says Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet.

Health Gets Local: CVS Health-Harris Poll

Our latest research with CVS Health found that today’s community pharmacies are fast becoming the front lines of healthcare for everyday Americans.

  • Nearly seven in ten Americans prefer pharmacies for their health care needs because of their convenient locations and evening and weekend hours of operation.
  • This is especially true of Americans of Color, where 40% of whom visit their local pharmacies in person at least a few times per month to speak with a pharmacist about their healthcare needs, especially for heart health services (32%), education on diseases (32%), immunizations (30%), diagnostic tests (30%), and prescribing contraception (29% v. white: 19%, 18%, 19%, 17%, 15%).
  • Pharmacists want to do even more for their patients, such as providing immunizations, health education, and medication counseling:

Takeaway: “Following the COVID-19 pandemic, patients continue to turn to local pharmacies more frequently for health care services because of their convenience and the growing trust they have in their pharmacy teams,” said Prem Shah, Executive Vice President, Chief Pharmacy Officer, and President of Pharmacy and Consumer Wellness, CVS Health.

Fractional Houses Are The New Rental Market: Zillow-Harris Poll

According to Zillow, rent prices are now 29.4% higher than before the pandemic. Enter a new trend ––single-room rentals. Renters using Zillow can now include “room” listings in their searches alongside traditional “entire place” options and cater to those seeking shared living spaces in an increasingly expensive market. Described as a “Craigslist killer for the millennial and Gen Z set” by Fortune, our study reinforces how tight the rental market is in the U.S.

  • Does anyone need a roommate? (59%) of Gen Z/Millennial renters report feeling uncertain about where they would go to find a roommate if they needed one.
  • A similar number (60%) say finding a good roommate is more challenging than finding a romantic partner, with more women agreeing (68% v. men: 49%).
  • Looking for a roommate is a financial must for many renters: Our Axios Vibes By The Harris Poll found that over half (57%) of renters described their current economic situation as “poor,” and (46%) didn’t have the money when a bill was due (v. homeowners: 29%, 29%).

Takeaway: “For the renter, it opens up those affordable options,” says Lily Ferguson, senior manager of product management, who led the team behind rooms for rent at Zillow. “Maybe previously, if you were living on your own, you were only able to rent out a studio [apartment], but now you might be able to consider living in a house with a yard or a neighborhood that would have been previously out of reach.”

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from February 9th to 11th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,031 U.S. adults.

John Gerzema headshot

John Gerzema


Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from February 9th to 11th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,031 U.S. adults.


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