Y2K Awareness? Latest Survey

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Y2K: Everyone Knows About It, But Few Are Worried

NEW YORK, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- While 92 percent of American adults are aware of the potential for Y2K disruptions, only about one in five (22 percent) are ``very concerned'' about it, according to research conducted by CDB Research & Consulting Inc. The study also found that more than half of the respondents (52 percent) were ``unconcerned'' about the issue.

In addition, the educated and affluent seem to be even less concerned about potential disruptions to daily life by Y2K than others. One out of four high school grads (26 percent) are concerned, but only one in five who have at least some college education (20 percent) feel as worried. The difference is even greater among income groups. Although one in four people with less than $45,000 in annual income are very concerned (26 percent), only half as many people with annual household incomes of at least $75,000 are concerned (13 percent).

``The more affluent segments of our society may be knowledgeable enough about computers and the influence of the millennium to feel confident that the dire predictions we've been hearing are exaggerated,'' said Ann Middleman, vice president of CDB Research & Consulting Inc. ``On the other hand, they may be too complacent. Only time will tell.''

In spite of this carefree attitude, most people recognize that there are likely to be some disruptions at the turn of the century. More than four out of five people (85 percent) identified some area of life that might experience problems. However, there was no single area that worried a majority, even among those who are most concerned about Y2K in general.

About one in three people are worried that financial services will be adversely affected (32 percent). Younger people are more likely to be concerned about disruptions in this area than older people (38 percent of ``Gen-Xers'' vs. 25 percent of the Mature Market).

Nearly one out of five people worry that healthcare services will be disrupted at the millennium (18 percent). Not surprisingly, young people are the least likely to be concerned (10 percent) about disruption of these services. On the other hand, both Baby Boomers and older adults are equally concerned about healthcare services (23 percent and 22 percent, respectively).

Telecommunications disruptions worry 20 percent of the people, but the most basic needs -- food and public safety -- concern fewer than one in 10 people. ``As news has gotten out, so has information about the measures being taken by the government and the private sector to avoid major problems in the distribution of food, water, energy, and other modern necessities,'' explained Middleman.

CDB Research & Consulting Inc. is a research and communications strategy consulting firm specializing in health, technology, financial services, and consumer goods, with a focus on marketing, product development, corporate communications, and corporate brand identity. CDB Research & Consulting Inc. is located at 350 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014. Phone: 212-367-6858. Fax: 212-367-6985. CDB Research & Consulting Inc. is on the World Wide Web at http://www.cdbresearch.com, with the general e-mail address of amiddleman@cdbresearch.com.

SOURCE: CDB Research & Consulting Inc.

-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 06, 1999


Let's see here... Assume (?) 175 million ADULTS in the U.S.

22% are VERY CONCERNED = 38,500,000

32% worried about financial systems = 56,000,000 (How many will take their money out of banks, and how much money will that be?)

And how many will panic at the last minute JUST BECAUSE OF THE UNKNOWN, and the fact that they're scared and have made NO PREPS? Think that might do some damage?


ANYONE that thinks NOTHING will happen (if for no other reason than the shear numbers of people involved) is seriously deluding themselves. *I* don't want to play an active part in the December 1999 game of "supermarket roulette" (maybe armed?), so I'll be fully prepped LONG before then...

Notice that I've said NOTHING about the objective reality of Y2K failures.... That is probably going to be a "side issue" for the REAL games about to begin.

-- Dennis (djolson@pressenter.com), July 06, 1999.

Doc: "I've got some bad news; you're terminal." -Patient: "Well, I'd like to get a second opinion". Doc: "OK, you're ugly too"

-- KoFE (your@town.USA), July 06, 1999.

Thanks for the interesting post, Mr. Decker. Hmm, if the more educated and affluent are less concerned about Y2K, I guess that makes Yardeni and Yourdon impoverished dunderheads, no? Dr. Yardeni must be especially amused: a doctorate from Yale under a Nobel Laureate and being chief economist for the securities division of the world's largest bank just don't cut it any more, apparently!

Seriously, you and I agree that the TEOTWAWKI scenarios are very unlikely, to say the least--well, at least insofar as the U.S. is concerned. (Have you checked out the latest CIA Y2K reports on Russia, China, and Pakistan? My God.) But a U.S. economic meltdown remains quite possible, if not probable. I'm going to sound this warning until I drop: the S&P 500 Index is now overvalued by a staggering 71% by the Fed's own valuation model, if you project a 6% increase in operating earnings over the next four quarters (and that projection might be somewhat optimistic, considering that S&P 500 operating earnings actually fell by 1.6% last year). This is a huge market bubble, in the opinion of Sakakibara, Volcker, Yardeni, Soros, the Princeton Economic Institute, and just about everyone else of note who isn't on the Administration payroll or actively involved in pushing stocks to suckers these days. The latest CIA report conservatively projects "isolated but severe" Y2K disruptions to the imports and exports of virtually all nations (worse, of course, for various individual countries); start adding those up, plus projected disruptions in the global oil industry and even in basic infrastructure (electricity, water, natural gas, telecom) in some countries, and see what you think is likely to happen to many global supply lines and JIT inventories. And that leaves aside the question of the Y2K preparedness of many foreign banks, etc. I think Dr. Yardeni is quite right to continue to be very worried about the global situation and its likely impact upon us--but then again, the poor fellow lacks the necessary education.

Back to this poll. Many of the "carefree" Americans may be "affluent" (at least from paper wealth in the stock market!), but I would strongly suggest that many of them are not as "educated" on this issue as they (and the pollsters) would like to believe. Plus, I am uncomfortably reminded of the fact that most Americans, especially the "educated" and "affluent," were carefree in the summer of 1929.

One of the great ironies of this post for me is that I read it just after coming back from a trip to my dentist, who raised the subject of Y2K; I had to spend some time (post-drilling, with my mouth half numb) reassuring him that, in my opinion, the great majority of U.S. banks are in reasonably good shape on Y2K and that I don't really expect any major, longterm infrastructure collapse in the U.S. (though *possibly* some serious regional problems). I did mention my grave economic concerns; he responded that he has already been seriously considering getting out of all his mutual funds (where he has lots of money parked; my bad teeth have financed part of that, I think). Well, I know this fellow is affluent, but perhaps he is not educated, hmm?

-- Don Florence (dflorence@zianet.com), July 06, 1999.

Thus proving that the "headline theory" of news reporting works in propaganda campaigns.

Offer "good news" that most people (all people) WANT to believe is true. Put it in headlines and in the first two sentences - which the media have been doing - and most people won't read the rest of the story.

Put the real news inside the story, disguised by simplest, overly optimistic headlines that exaggerate what testing was done, or how far along real remediation is, and most people won't understand that the headline is blatantly wrong. The truth, the real information inside the story, is present, but the message is warped.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), July 06, 1999.


Yes, I think we are in general agreement. There are other geopolitical situations that make me far more nervous than Y2K. Still, I see serious recession next year... partly due to Y2K problems. It is amusing that an opinion as "pessimistic" as mine in the real world is considered wide-eyed optimism here. (laughter)


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), July 07, 1999.

they,won't prepair,but they'll remember

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), July 08, 1999.

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