How Does Your Brain Score? Take the Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment

Older African Americans Depend on Social Security

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.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, the monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, a quarterly bi-lingual newspaper in Spanish; NRTA Live & Learn, a quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and the Web site, AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Search Press Center


If you are an AARP member and not with the press, call 1-888-OUR-AARP or email


For media inquiries, please contact the AARP Media Relations Office at (202) 434-2560 or


Facebook: AARP Media Relations

Twitter: @aarpmedia

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.


Member Benefits AT&T Wireless Cell Phone

Members save 10% on the monthly service charge of qualified AT&T wireless plans.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $9.50 for Regal ePremiere Tickets purchased online.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members earn points on select Walgreens-brand health and wellness products.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.