Americans prefer dollar bill to coin: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Most Americans would rather use a dollar bill than a dollar coin but oppose abolishing the penny, according to a new survey.

A U.S. dollar bill is displayed in Toronto in this posed photo, March 26, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

More than three-quarters of people questioned in the Harris poll said they preferred the dollar bill to the dollar coin and 56 percent want to keep the penny in circulation.

But 68 percent said paper money should be more colorful.

“While there is a strong reluctance to abolish the penny or to use dollar coins, a large majority is in favor of using more colors in bills of different denominations to make it easier to tell them apart,” Harris said in a statement.

Until recently, bills of all denominations in the United States were green. The penny’s future has been in question from time to time. If it were to be abolished the nickel would be the smallest coin in the United States.

The online poll of 2,513 people showed that 24 percent favored abolishing the penny, while 18 percent were undecided. Income played a factor in the results with only 16 percent of people with household incomes of less than $35,000 voting for abolition of the coin, compared to 32 percent of people with incomes of $75,000 or more.

The poll showed 34 percent of men were in favor of getting rid of the penny, compared to 14 percent of women.

Nearly 20 percent of men said they preferred a paper dollar bill, compared to eight percent of women.

New dollar coins were introduced to the United States last year, but only 25 percent of those polled said they had seen one.

“Compared to some other countries, the United States uses bills rather than coins for relatively small denominations,” Harris said.

The smallest Euro bill is equal to five euros ($7.93), the smallest British bill is equal to 5 pounds ($9.92), according to the poll, and the smallest Canadian bill is equal to $5 ($4.90).

Reporting by Julie Mollins; editing by Patricia Reaney