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The State of 50+ America 2006

Compared with a decade ago, the state of 50+ America seems to have improved, but AARP’s third annual “report card” on the quality of life of midlife and older Americans finds that the picture has become less favorable and the outlook more bleak during the most recent year.

While moderately positive change occurred in more than half of the economic indicators in the past year, change in the health indicators has been generally negative. Age 50+ Americans thus appear to be doing better financially, but feeling worse; other social measures also were more negative than positive.

Individuals are being required to take more responsibility for their own retirement, traditional pensions are in decline even as overall coverage inches up, retiree health benefits are being reduced or eliminated, the stock market is stagnant and, although they were turned back in 2005, threats to partially privatize Social Security are likely to resurface. As a result, the future remains uncertain.

The 2006 report examines the status of age 50+ Americans’ economic, health and social well-being, and includes a special section on housing and how people are responding to the current housing landscape. This section concludes with individual commentaries by four housing experts: William Apgar and Nicolas Retsinas of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, Richard Peach of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution. (52 pages)

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