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Issues Affecting Poverty and the Elderly

Retirement Economists and demographers expected a large exodus from the workforce as the first baby boomers reached 60 in 2006, yet the weakened economy and rising health care costs are causing many aging Americans to delay retirement.

Healthcare Elderly Americans’ limited budgets are stretched even further by higher expenditures on health care. Medical spending for those between the ages of 55 and 64 is almost twice the amount spent by those between the ages of 35 and 44.

Energy Older consumers with the lowest incomes struggle the most to pay their utility bills—35 percent of older households have incomes of less than $20,000 and experience the greatest energy burden, or percentage of income spent on energy costs.

Food Security According to 2006 U.S. Department of Agriculture data, almost 18 percent of low-income elderly (with incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line) who live with others are food insecure, as are more than 12 percent of low-income seniors who live alone.

Transportation Only one half of Americans 65 or older have access to public transportation to meet their daily needs. Yet research shows the elderly use public transportation when it is available, and that access to goods and services reduces their isolation and increases their mobility.

Predatory Lending Equity-rich and cash-poor elderly homeowners have been an attractive target for unscrupulous mortgage lenders, many of whom have capitalized on seniors’ need for cash by offering high-rate and high-fee loans.

Categories from the Center for American Progress

Idaho Specific Elderly and Aging Resources

Research Resources

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