U.S. Census Data Shows Increase in Older Adults Living in Poverty

September 23, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the overall number of older adults living in poverty has increased. 
Perhaps even more significant is the number of seniors who have experienced an increase in economic insecurity—those living on the edge of poverty.

Seniors with incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) rose from 33.7% 2009 to 34.6%, and those living below 100% of the FPL saw a modest, yet significant, increase from 3.4 to 3.5 million. Numbers do indicate that some individuals aged 65 and older have seen a rise in their incomes, mostly due to Social Security, as more Boomers reach retirement age.

“What the numbers have shown us is that economic insecurity for older adults has definitely increased,” said Sandra Nathan, Senior Vice President for Economic Security at the National Council on Aging (NCOA). “We need legislative and policy changes that take into account the needs of all age groups in poverty—while not forgetting those who are living on the edge, struggling every day just to pay for food, medicine, transportation, and a place to live.”

“The reality is that there is an unseen crisis occurring in this country today,” said Nathan, “and that is rising economic insecurity among older Americans.”

More than 13 million older adults live in or on the edge of poverty, on less than $22,000 each year. These seniors live one bad break, one accident, or one layoff away from economic disaster. And with continued cuts in federal, state, and local programs serving older adults, we can expect to see even more seniors struggling to make ends meet.”