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The Short Answer
How Many Americans Have a Will?
The Short Answer

How Many Americans Have a Will?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's latest polling finds that slightly less than half of U.S. adults, 46%, have a will that describes how they would like their money and estate to be handled after their death. The results have been similar in three other readings on this question since 1990.

Line graph. Forty-six percent of U.S. adults say they have a will that describes how they prefer that their money and estate be handled after their death. Prior Gallup polling going back to 1990 has found the percentage who have a will ranging between 44% and 51%.

As might be expected, Americans aged 65 and older are the most likely subgroup to have a will, with just over three-quarters saying they have one. Each younger age group is significantly less likely to have a will than the previous one, including just 20% of adults under age 30.

Additionally, upper-income Americans are much more likely than lower-income Americans to report having a will.

There are also large differences by education and race, with greater proportions of college graduates and White Americans than college nongraduates and non-White Americans saying they have a will.

Percentage of Americans Having a Will, by Subgroup
Do you have a will that describes how you would like your money and estate to be handled after your death?
  % Yes, have a will
U.S. adults 46
65+ years old 76
50-64 years old 53
30-49 years old 36
18-29 years old 20
Annual household income  
$100,000 or more 61
$40,000-$99,999 49
Under $40,000 30
College graduate 57
Not college graduate 40
White adults 55
Nonwhite adults 28
Gallup, May 3-18, 2021

In a 2020 survey, Gallup found that about as many U.S. adults, 45%, say they have a living will as say they have a will for their assets. Living wills, which specify people's preferences for medical treatment in the event they are unable to communicate those in the future, are, like financial wills, much more commonly held by older than younger Americans.

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