POSTED: Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 11:04am
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — More than half of Americans have received benefits from government entitlement programs during their lifetimes, according to a Pew Research Center report released Tuesday.
The study found that 55 percent of Americans have been on at least one of the six largest government safety net programs: unemployment benefits, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid and Welfare.
When factoring in veterans' benefits and federal college loans and grants as well, the number rises to 70 percent of Americans receiving government aid.
Unemployment benefits are the most popular assistance program. About 27 percent of Americans have received unemployment assistance at some point in their lifetimes.
Social Security is a close second, at 26 percent of Americans.
The study also looked at who is receiving benefits. About 60 percent of Democrats have benefited from a major entitlement program, while 52 percent of Republicans have.
Overall, Democrats were more likely to have received poverty or unemployment assistance, but when it comes to programs for the elderly, like Social Security and Medicare, both Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to have used those benefits.
Participation in government entitlement programs also varied across the income spectrum. Among adults earning $30,000 a year or less, 70 percent said they had benefited from government aid at some point. And 39 percent of adults making at least $100,000 a year have received some form of aid.
The Pew Research Center data comes from a survey of 2,500 adults, conducted by telephone about two weeks ago.