Should the penny be discontinued?

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BELLEVUE, Wash. – Will the penny survive? Recently, there has been significant debate over whether to keep the penny as part of U.S. currency or to discontinue production of the penny.

Majority support penny. The fourth annual Coinstar National Currency Poll finds most people are not ready to say goodbye to the penny. Surprisingly, the survey found that the penny has quite a loyal following, with 65 percent of people responding to the poll saying that Congress should keep the penny in circulation.

Women are the dominant supporters of the penny, with nearly three in four women (74 percent) in favor of keeping it compared with more than half of men (56 percent).

Though most are in favor of keeping the penny, 32 percent staunchly believe it should be discontinued.

Pay more? OK. When asked if they would like to see the coin eliminated even if it cost consumers more money as a result of retailers rounding up prices, an overwhelming 81 percent of these penny protesters still say it should go.

If Congress did decide to get rid of the penny, 42 percent of respondents believe the penny would become more valuable, with a majority of Americans (79 percent) considering it a collectible.

Three out of four Americans accumulate change (77 percent), citing that the coins are too cumbersome to carry around (12 percent) or that they receive so much change in daily transactions the coins just add up faster than they can deal with them (24 percent).

What to do with change. Younger Americans are accumulating more change than any other age group (83 percent), most of which are saving up for a special purchase.

While one in four Americans (26 percent) will do absolutely nothing with their coins, allowing them to sit idle in their jars or piggy banks, 38 percent of respondents have discovered the value of their loose change and will be cashing it in to use for special purchases or spending their coins in daily transactions.

Multiple penny uses. Throughout history coins have been helpful in assisting Americans to obtain items that they desire. Today, however, Americans have found creative uses for their loose change including scratching off a game ticket (73 percent), in a magic trick (29 percent), as jewelry (11 percent) and to even out a table leg (7 percent).

Americans are taking an active interest in what their money can do for them and are passing that information on to their children by teaching them the value of a dollar and how to save for their future.

Children and money. Sixty-three percent of Americans have talked with their children about the importance of saving money. Interestingly only 40 percent of Americans give their child an allowance, while 66 percent report their children have a savings account and 74 percent have a piggy bank or other container to hold their change.

Inflation appears to have increased the amount of money parents give to their children with 35 percent of Americans giving their children an allowance of $10 or more per week today, compared to the average $1-$5 allowance received by 32 percent of adults when they were young.

About the poll. The poll was developed in 1998 to enhance understanding of coin and currency habits in America. The results, compiled from telephone research among more than 1,000 randomly selected American adults, were conducted by an independent market research firm.

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