RetirementEconomists 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 SecurityAccording 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.
TransportationOnly 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 LendingEquity-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.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is the nation’s safety net for the aged, blind, and disabled. SSI receipt is often not reported by individuals interviewed in the Current Population Survey (CPS), the statistical base for the Census Bureau’s annual estimates of poverty rates. In an earlier article, we explored the effect on estimated poverty rates in 2002 of adjusting CPS income reports using administrative data on earnings and benefits from the SSI and Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance programs. We assessed poverty using both the official standard and a “relative” standard based on half of median pretax, posttransfer income. This article extends that work through 2005.