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55th Reunion Survey Analysis

By Gregory A. Weiss

Welcome, we thought that a fun way to kick things off would be to present some highlights from the class survey. The plan is to deliver a more complete written analysis some time in the future so this is just a teaser!

We were pleased to have received 198 responses to the survey. This is great, but since it represents only 25% of the roughly 800 living members of the class any conclusions we might reach from the results must be subject to the caveat that the sample is probably too small to be definitive.

In the big picture the survey shows some evidence of the march of time, lots of good news and some interesting news about the pandemic and the recent presidential elections.

Ah yes, the march of time. Truth be told, we’re not kids anymore. Most of us are 77. Nevertheless, 78% of our respondents say that they are in good or excellent health. This seems pretty darn good for a bunch of geezers, but it is actually down 9% from the 50th reunion survey. Only 45% “feel their age.“ This, too, sounds good, but it is up 11% from the 50th.

In 2016 14% of us had had joint replacements. Five years later we are starting to fall apart. That percentage is now up to 30. The all-important libido and spouse/partner sexual activity questions also show a slide. As an example, 10% of our respondents said their libido was at 0% of college levels versus only 4% responding that way in 2016. On the other side of the coin, an impressive 6% continue to say their libido is 100% of what it was back then. Are they lying through their teeth?? 28% of our respondents said they were sexually active with their spouse or partner. This is down from 44% at the 50th and 53% at the 45th

The retirement numbers are significant, and they can be looked at as good news: many of us are finally starting to relax! The percentages have, no surprise, gone up steadily — from 14% at the 40th reunion, to 27% at the 45th, 43% at the 50th and 65% today. Looked at the other way around, however, 35% of our classmates are, amazingly, still working (13% full-time)!

And the survey has a lot more good news. 78% say they are either “very“ or “extremely“ happy, and only 3% say they are not very happy. 97% describe their current economic situation as comfortable or better. Most importantly, 94% look back favorably on their undergraduate years at Yale. All of these percentages are essentially the same as those five years ago.

It looks like we have survived the Covid pandemic well. Only two guys have died from it: Ted Blatchford and George Musgrove. 4 others report having caught the disease. As of May 5, 186 respondents have been vaccinated, and only 8 have not. Of those 8 only 4 voluntarily made the choice not to get vaccinated. We have clearly dodged some pandemic bullets!

Politics are obviously controversial but also fascinating. Here are some interesting survey results: the class continues to lean left. 55% consider themselves Democrats; 20% Republicans and 24% independents. This is a slight leftward shift from the 50th.

Our 50th reunion survey reported that in the 2012 presidential election 67% of us voted for Obama and 32% for Romney. Our new survey showed 67% for Hilary and 22% for Trump in the 2016 election. The 2020 election survey results were 75% for Biden and 21% for Trump. Biden’s 54% margin over Trump was obviously much higher than the nationwide figure of 4.4%.

One final set of survey results may leave you a bit amazed. One classmate reported 25 grandchildren and another reported 21! One wonders whether this is coming from the same guys who said their libidos were 100% of what they were in college??

On to the rest of the program!