1. Poverty among the elderly is worse than you may think.
Under the Census Bureau’s updated and more comprehensive supplemental poverty measure, the poverty rate for people 65 and older is over 40 percent higher than under the official measure: 14.4 percent v. 10.0 percent [PDF, Table 2].
2. Half of seniors would be poor without Social Security.
Without income from Social Security, the poverty rate among people 65 and older would jump from 14.4 percent v. 50.0 percent [PDF, Table 4a].
3. More than two-thirds of the elderly poor are women.
About 3.1 million women 65 and older are poor [PDF], compared to about 1.5 million of their male counterparts.
4. Older women of color and older women living alone are at greater risk of poverty.
Poverty rates are about one in five [PDF] for women 65 and older living alone, and for Black, Hispanic, and Native American women 65 and older. Poverty rates are slightly lower for older Asian women (16.0 percent) and substantially lower for older white, non-Hispanic women (9.9 percent).
5. Women are at greater risk of poverty than men at all stages of their lives—but the difference is especially high for older women.
The poverty rate for all women 18 and older is about one-third higher than for their male counterparts (14.7 percent v. 10.9 percent). The poverty rate for women 75 and older is nearly double that of their male counterparts (14.7 percent v. 7.6 percent).