Majority of Women, Blacks and Latino Seniors on Cusp of Poverty

Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2013

A new report on the senior population found a majority of elderly women, blacks and Latinos are precariously close to poverty, according to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute report released Thursday.

The report comes as lawmakers are considering making changes to Social Security and Medicare. The proposed changes, the report’s authors warn, would make 41 million American seniors economically vulnerable, defined as having an income less than two times the supplemental poverty threshold.

Nearly half of the elderly population is just one economic mishap away from falling into poverty, according to the study.

But elderly women, ages 65 and older, are more likely to be vulnerable to economic calamities. Nearly 53% of elderly women are “economically vulnerable,” compared to 42% of men of the same age range.


The researchers relied on the U.S. Census Bureau‘s supplemental poverty measure. Formed in 2009, the metric is an experimental poverty measure that defines income thresholds and resources different from the official poverty metric, according to the Census Bureau.

Among other findings:

— Nearly 64% of elderly blacks are defined as economically vulnerable.

— The rate for elderly Latinos is six percentage points higher at 70%.

— In comparison, 44% of elderly whites are considered economically vulnerable.

— The older elderly — people age 80 and older — have a far higher rate of economic vulnerability: 58% compared to those between age 65 and 79, 44%.




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