One in two Americans would stop to pick up a penny

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
January 18, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+0

While seven in ten adults over 55 say they stop for pennies, less than four in ten millennials do the same

Money may not grow on trees, but it’s certainly everywhere on the street. Whether people believe in a lucky penny or they’re just habitual penny pinchers, many Americans still collect loose change. And it’s not just the rare dollar-coin. A new poll from YouGov Omnibus uncovers that nearly nine in ten Americans (89%) will stop to pick up a coin on the street.

Over half of Americans (56%) say they would stop to pick up America’s smallest coin denomination if they saw one on the street. Others will only stop for more valuable coins – nickels (11%), dimes (6%), and quarters (14%).

The act of stopping for a coin on the ground isn’t necessarily tied to household economics either. Americans who earn more than $80,000 a year (89%) are just slightly less likely to stop for a coin (89%) as those who earn $40,000-80,000 (93%) and under $40,000 (90%) a year.

The latest data indicates that picking up loose change may be phasing out, especially for smaller coin denominations. While seven in ten of adults over 55 would stop for a penny, just 37% of young millennials (ages 18-24) say the same. These millennials, along with their slightly older cohorts, are more likely than any other age bracket to say that they’d stop for a quarter but not anything smaller than that.

While Americans continue to comb sidewalks, streets, and couches for lost coins, where does it all go once collected? Most say it goes straight into a jar or glass dedicated to storing all their spare change (36%). One in ten deposit these coins in a piggy bank (11%) or keep them in their wallets (10%). Of course, there are a few Americans who say they would never pick up a coin on the street (6%) or don’t like to keep loose change (7%) but that’s just less competition for all the penny hoarders out there.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus

Image: Getty