Survey finds Y2k attitude related to sense of security (IL) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Survey finds Y2K attitude related to sense of security


How worried are you about the Y2K computer bug or other calamities that might befall once the clock strikes midnight a week from Friday?

Will you store up food staples and plunder your bank account? Will you stock up on water and barricade yourself in your house?

How you answer may depend on your race, sex or even income. A recent survey from the University of Illinois at Springfield found that women are more likely to worry about the end of the millennium than men, and that nearly five times as many minorities are likely to worry about it than whites.

What most state residents believe, however, is that the greatest Y2K calamities, if any, will come from people, not computers. The concern is that some older computers will misread the new year as 1900 and malfunction.

"By more than a two to one margin, the Illinois public believes that the biggest problems will be caused by the precautions people take to avoid problems rather than the actual mistakes caused by computers and computer programs," said Dick Schuldt, director of the UIS Survey Research Office.

The survey also found the highest concern for potential Y2K chaos in the middle class. Respondents in households earning $31,000 to $51,000 scored highest, with 41 percent.

The lowest level of concern was from people in households earning more than $75,000 a year.

The survey came about out of curiosity, Schuldt said.

"We were doing another statewide survey on other issues and we thought, as long as we're doing a survey, why not just do one on a subject we want to do," he said.

"And with Y2K approaching, we had an interest in how the public might react to that and whether or not they were planning to take precautions."

The telephone survey of 633 randomly selected households statewide was conducted in October. Because of the small sampling, the survey didn't break down minorities by race.

The sampling error for statewide results is plus or minus 4 percent.

Overall, 40 percent plan to take some precautions before New Year's Eve. Nearly three-fourths believe the personal impact from Y2K will be minor and 6 percent are bracing for major problems.

"Over a quarter of our respondents said they were stockpiling food and water and backup utilities of some kind and 22 percent said they'd be financially ready and get copies of their other records," Schuldt said.

There won't be any attempt to empty bank accounts, the survey suggests. According to the survey, only 2 percent planned to withdraw all their money. A slightly higher number, 3 percent, said they will "go into isolation."

"Who knows what they meant," Schuldt said.

People from Chicago showed more concern for Y2K than did people downstate, according to the survey.

Schuldt suggested the data may reflect whether people feel secure already - the more vulnerable a group, the more concern they expressed.

Another factor involved computer use. Schuldt's findings showed that people who use computers tended to be more aware of potential millennium chaos and would prepare for it, while non-computer users expressed a greater anxiety.

"Whether you use computers or not was related to almost everything we asked here," he said.

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 23, 1999


SECURITY is something rarely acknowledged, but it is revered above most anything else. Average people (ie. clerks, bakers, tradesmen, labourers) have imagined an implicit bargain with the rest of society. They considered the safety of their scanty pay as an equal exchange for punctuality, honesty, and a fair days work. They were not good ol boys for nothing. Nobody is. When these people realize that their life savings are gone, they will plainly become a challenge, then a menace. That will bring more change. Uncertanty will soon become the norm for everyone.

It matters not about surveys and the feelings of different classes of people. Y2K or econmomics do not consider us. It is for us to consider them. They both now clearly point to a world bewitched.

-- earl (, December 23, 1999.

plunder your bank account?

say waaa....

I guess this reporter believes your money dosen't belong to you.

Polly alert!

-- cgbg jr (, December 23, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Schuldt suggested the data may reflect whether people feel secure already - the more vulnerable a group, the more concern they expressed.

This is presented as though preparing relates to a psychological need of these people, learned through their life experience. An equally plausible explanation is that vulnerable folks more readily see problems when they appear.

Also, being more vulnerable, there is more of a reason to prepare. Someone who's physically handicapped, for instance, may not have the wielding of a hoe as part of their contingency plan. Instead of boning up on how to plant and weed, or planning to just wing it, their preparations would have to be more along the lines of stockpiling and ensuring a solid financial footing. Thus, they may merely appear to be preparing more, when in actuality, they're still less fit to face the future.

It's a darn shame that people with the foresight to take responsibility for themselves so that they will not have to be a burden on others will likely be demonized and have their preparations confiscated by government officials or other looters.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), December 24, 1999.

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