Federal Reserve building in Washington. (Photo: AP)

Forty-nine percent of Americans in a survey released Tuesday by Bankrate.com expressed concern about rising interest rates in 2017.

This was well up from a year ago, when 41% of survey respondents said they were worried about interest rates going up.

Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted telephone interviews in English and Spanish in early January with 1,003 adults living in the continental U.S.

The chief cause for worry was the effect of rising interest rates on the stock market, cited by 21% of respondents in the study, up from 16% in 2016.

“As the stock market has moved higher, more Americans are concerned that rising interest rates could be the market’s undoing,” Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride said in a statement.

Eighteen percent of respondents said they were concerned how higher rates might affect their personal financial situation.

Bankrate noted that overall, adults between 26 and 51 were slightly more inclined to express nervousness about rising interest rates. These fears diminished as respondent’s education levels and household income increased.

Among the 48% who purported not to be concerned about interest rates going up, 16% said rates had been artificially low.

Five percent said they wanted the additional interest income on savings — and these were not just retirees:

  • 18- to 29-year-olds: 8%
  • 50- to 64-year-olds: 6%
  • 65 and older: 7%

Financial Security Remains Positive

Bankrate’s Financial Security Index, a numerical expression of Americans’ level of financial security, asks Americans about how their savings, job security and other financial factors now compared with last year. Anything over a threshold of 100 indicates that respondents consider themselves better off than a year ago.

In January, the index fell to 101 from 104.3 in December — still a level that indicates improved financial security over the past year, according to Bankrate.

Half of respondents said they were as comfortable with the amount of debt they carried as they were a year ago. The rest were about evenly split, with 24% saying they were less comfortable and 23% more comfortable.

Those under age 50 or with household income of less than $50,000 were likelier to say they were less comfortable with their debt now than one year ago.