Survey: Cost of Living of Top Concern for All Senior Voters in 2024 Election

Survey: Cost of Living of Top Concern for All Senior Voters in 2024 Election


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Seniors voting at a ballot box

Leading up to the 2024 presidential election, party voters are more divided than ever — or are they? According to a recent Retirement Living survey, the issues that matter most to one party are least important to another, except for one key issue.

When asked about the issues that are important as they decide whom to vote for this November, seniors are most concerned about the country’s cost of living. This is based on a survey of U.S. residents aged 60 and older who were asked to self-identify with a political party and name their top concerns regarding the upcoming election. Beyond rising expenses, American voters remain split on the issues that matter most.

Key takeaways:

  • The most important issue for senior voters is cost of living. Over 19% of voters named cost of living as their biggest concern, and 57% deemed it a top three concern. 
  • A whopping 94.7% of seniors have voted in previous presidential elections, and more than 91% voted in the 2020 election. 
  • American seniors care most about 1) cost of living, 2) inflation, and 3) crime.
  • Seniors 60 and older say Social Security and Medicare are slightly more important than voters aged 45 to 60. 
  • The top three issues of importance vary greatly by party identification.
  • Older voters are more likely to make voting decisions based on issues rather than the candidate or party affiliation.

Division Across Party Lines

One worry all parties can agree on is the country’s current cost of living — over 57% of respondents ranked it a top three issue. Beyond that, what matters most to self-identified Republicans is of least concern to Democrats and vice versa. 

For example, abortion and climate change are top issues for Democrats leading up to the 2024 presidential election but rank as the least important for Republicans. Immigration is the second most important issue for Republicans but hardly a deciding factor for Democrats.

In addition, our survey indicates that Americans 60 and older are more likely to vote based on an issue (44.3%) rather than by candidate (39.0%) or party affiliation (13.2%).

At the time of our survey, nearly three in four seniors (72.5%) have already determined who they are voting for.

Personal Financial Situations Will Influence Almost Every 2024 Vote

To better understand voter concerns for adults across America, we also surveyed adults as young as 45 years. Voters 45 and older across all parties, including self-identified unaffiliated voters, worry about their current financial situation and will consider their money woes at the ballot box this year. In addition to cost of living being the top concern for all this year, respondents in every party except the Democrat party named inflation a top-three issue.

Ballooning costs affect all Americans, but especially fixed-income seniors who rely on income from their retirement portfolios and Social Security adjustments to fund their lifestyles. Its one of the top five factors influencing senior votes this year, according to our findings.

Concerns over seniors’ financial future come as the Social Security Administration announced a slightly more favorable outlook for the 70 million-plus Americans who receive Social Security: the trust fund reserves used to pay beneficiaries are projected to become insolvent in 2035, a year later than previously projected.

According to the agency's annual trustees report released in May, the program will still exist after 2035, but retirees will only receive 83% of their full benefits unless Congress takes action.

Age Also Plays a Role

With long-term funding in question, it makes sense that older voters are slightly more concerned with their monthly stipends than younger voters, who are unlikely to be able to factor the program into their retirement funds. For voters of all party affiliations, Social Security was more important for voters aged 60 and older than it was for those aged 45 to 60.

Payroll taxes largely fund Social Security and Medicare. People are leaving the workforce faster than they are entering it. Without congressional action of any kind to raise taxes, change benefits, or cut costs, Medicare’s trust fund would be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2028, impacting more than 60 million enrollees 65 and older. Older voters traditionally turn out more reliably in elections, which means that action on these issues, or a lack thereof, could impact election results.

What’s more interesting is that gender did not play a role in our political survey results. Both male and female voters deem the same issues important.

A Shakeup In the Southwest 

When it comes to regional voting habits, the nation is mostly aligned, with the exception of the Southwest, which ranks immigration as a top voting issue this year. 

Map of the issues senior voters care about by region
Issues senior voters care about by region.

Swing States Standouts

Voters in battleground states, where the populations are closely divided politically, have the power to swing elections in either direction. States that are traditionally deemed swing states, or battleground states, are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

Keeping with national results, every swing state deemed cost of living and inflation to be its top issues. However, data suggests that swing state voters are also more concerned about immigration and crime in their home states — all issues ranked highest among Republican and Independent voters.


Retirement Living surveyed 1,039 American seniors aged 45 and older about their voting plans. Our survey, which was conducted in April 2024, data relies on self-reporting. Of the respondents, 576 identified themselves as 60 and older, 299 marked their age as 45 to 60, and 164 did not identify their age.