Survey Results and Analysis

NCHS 68 Opinion Survey Results
Thanks to all who took the survey, and to Sarah McElhone Moriarity, who helped with analysis. Of the 262 who graduated with us,216 are still alive, 152 registered on the site, and 54 responded to the survey.
Who we are
More than half of us still live within a half day’s drive of New Canaan: 86 in New England (including 43 in Connecticut), and 29 in themid-Atlantic states. Classmates have also settled in the South (especially Florida, North and South Carolina) and West (especially
California and Colorado). Nine live outside the U.S. (up from three at our 40th reunion); another three live in the Virgin Islands.More of us are married than the U.S. average for our age group (85 percent vs. 65 percent). More than eighty percent of us have children; most of those with children have two. Twenty percent of the class have no children, and only one reports more than three.
Sixty percent have grandchildren.Two-thirds of those with children sent them to public schools exclusively. None sent their children to parochial schools. Our NCHS experience gets very high marks, with 90 percent of respondents rating their time there good or excellent. In addition tothe quality of the school and our teachers, this likely reflects the stable, safe, well-educated and wealthy community where we lived.
Half of our class continues to work either full- or part-time, compared to less than one-third for all 68-year-olds in the U.S. We were(and are) happy in our work. Nearly all respondents say they are (or were) very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their work, although only one-third worked in the field they expected to in 1968. The most popular careers for our class were, unsurprisingly,business, broadly defined (banking and financial services, sales and marketing). Education was also popular.
We have been healthier than average Americans. Although 46 classmates have already passed away (14 percent of the class), this is well below the 20 percent that would be average for our age group. Nearly half of us have had a potentially life-threatening illness,and one-fifth have lost a spouse or a child. Two-thirds say they have a regular exercise program.Median household income for survey respondents is about $150K, three times the U.S. average for households headed bysomeone our age. Median income for our class is likely to fall in the next 10 years, as most of those still working finally retire. If our entire class had answered the survey, median income would likely have been lower than $150K, as wealthier and more successful
people are more likely to answer surveys like this.
NCHS 68 Opinion Survey Results
    What we believe:
Fifty-eight percent of our class identify as Christians, compared with 71 percent for the US as a whole. When we graduated, 80 percent of us identified as Christian. Nearly half of us (44 percent) are traditional Protestants now, down slightly from 56 percent when we graduated in 1968, but still much higher than the U.S. average of 15 percent. Seventeen percent are Catholic, down from 22 percent in 1968. Another 17 percent identifies as atheist or agnostic, in line with the current U.S. average. Six percent are Evangelical Christian, compared to 25 percent for the U.S. as a whole. No survey respondents identify as Jewish, reflecting the absence of Jews in New Canaan when we were growing up. Jews account for about 2% of the US population, 10% of the population of the New York metropolitan area, and an even larger share in most affluent New York-area communities. But until recent decades, only a few lived in New Canaan. Around 4 percent of the U.S. population now identifies itself as Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, etc. Most of these are recent immigrants and their children, and were not a significant share of the US population when we were young. Our political identity leans modestly Democratic in our survey, in line with U.S. averages. Our NCHS class lies in the middle of the liberal-conservative spectrum, at least among classmates who answered the survey. In the 2016 election, Clinton beat Trump by more than 2 to 1 among our classmates; nearly one in 7 of us voted for a third-party candidate.
Our answers to the questions on policy put us well to the left on the American political spectrum.
• Our class is strongly pro-choice, with 85 percent of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat agree with the statement that every woman should have the right to chose an abortion; this compares with 57 percent nationally.
• We strongly favor gun control, with 80 percent saying they strongly or somewhat favor tighter regulations on guns, compared with 50 percent nationally.
• We strongly favor tighter environment laws, with 80 percent saying they strongly or somewhat support stronger laws to protect the environment; this compares with 60 percent nationally.
We split on single-payer health care, with 45 percent favoring and 40 percent opposing a Canadian-style single-payer system. By a small margin, we oppose reducing immigration from current levels (45 percent to 35 percent). And more than half disagree with the
claim that America is in decline and will be a second-rate country in our lifetimes.
Predictably, the women in our class are more liberal than the men, with 56 percent of women but only 32 percent locating themselves on the liberal side of the political spectrum. The women are also more likely than the men to be Democrats, by 52percent to 25 percent.
On some questions, men and women of our class hold similar views.
Abortion rights received strong support from both women and men, with 88 percent of women and 79 percent of men saying they strongly or somewhat support a woman’s right to chose an abortion; both Republicans and Democrats supported the statement.
• Tighter controls on guns also received support from both women and men, with 80 percent of women and 78 percent of men strongly or somewhat supporting tighter controls.
• Tighter environmental rules were supported by both women and men.On other questions, men and women differ.
• They split on single-payer health insurance: 64 percent of women but only 29 percent of men strongly or somewhat agreed that the U.S. should have a single-payer system on the Canadian model. Nearly all Democrats supported the statement, and nearly allRepublicans opposed it. Independents were mixed.
•They split on immigration, with 43 percent of men but only 24 percent of women strongly or somewhat in favor of reducing immigration from current levels. A large majority of Republicans supported the proposal; a large majority of Democrats opposed.
• Men were more optimistic about the future of the country: 48 percent of women but only 11 percent of men strongly or somewhatagreed with the statement, “The U.S. is in decline and will be a second-rate country in our lifetimes.” Republicans were more optimistic than Democrats, with 35 percent of Democrats but only 11 percent of Republicans agreeing with the statement.