More than Half Rely on Social Security for Most of their Retirement Income
The primary source of retirement income for African Americans is Social Security, according to a study by AARP's Public Policy Institute. The study, released today at the Congressional Black Caucus, found that more than 50 percent of African Americans age 65 and older depend on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.
"Social Security is critical to our community," said Marie Smith, AARP President in her address to the Caucus. "Today only one-fourth of African Americans has a private pension or investment income. That is not expected to improve, so Social Security will remain the foundation of retirement security for the next generation."
The study found that more than 80 percent of older African Americans receive Social Security and almost the same percentage (78.2) depend on it for more than 50 percent of their retirement income. Less than one-quarter of African Americans receive interest income compared to 53 percent of the general over 65 population, and only 24.6 percent of African Americans receive pension income.
There have been recent proposals that would allow people to invest a portion of the Social Security in individual accounts, but Smith said that this study highlights the importance of maintaining Social Security's secure benefits.
"Personal saving and investment should be done in addition to Social Security, not in place of it," she said. "Diverting money into private accounts erodes Social Security's long-term finances and puts our future financial security at risk."
For a print copy of the Fact Sheet entitled "African Americans Age 65 and Older: Their Sources of Income" please contact the Media Relations office at 202-434-2560 or Olive Jackson in the Public Policy Institute at 202-434-3870.
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