But the concerns are increasing the most among younger adults approaching middle age, whose equity in their homes represents most of their net worth. About 49 percent of those age 35-44 said they had little or no confidence that they would have enough money for retirement, more than double the 20 percent share in that age group who said so in 2009.
Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 also reported having more retirement anxieties than before, but now to a lesser degree compared with their younger counterparts. About 43 percent of Americans age 45-54 expressed little or no trust in their retirement security, up from 33 percent in 2009. Among Americans age 55-64, the share expressing little or no confidence was 39 percent, up from 26 percent.
Richard Morin, a senior editor at Pew who coauthored the report, said the shift in attitudes was somewhat surprising.
"I think most people would expect those on the cusp of retirement - ages 55 to 64 - would be the most concerned about financing their retirement, [so] the finding that the peak is now occurring among adults roughly 20 years younger is notable," he said. "Moreover, the wealth data showing those approaching or in early middle age had lost the most in the past decade suggests that their concerns are not misplaced."
Morin said that it is hard to predict whether Americans in their 30s would continue to express the most retirement worries in the years to come, but he said it was a "real possibility," given that housing values are not expected to fully recover anytime soon.
The Pew study is based on interviews with 2,508 adults by cellphone or landline from July 16 to 26, as well as an analysis of the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances. The Pew poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.