Social Security provides households headed by a person aged 65 and older with a stable and reliable source of income, helping to shield them from increases in poverty and drops in median income experienced by other age groups since 2007. Median income for households headed by a person age 55 to 64 dropped 4 percent between 2010 and 2011, the largest decline among any age group.
In 2011, the official poverty rate was 8.7 percent for people aged 65 and older. However, a more accurate measure of poverty produced by the Census Bureau shows 15.1 percent of older Americans in poverty. The official poverty rate rose from 10.0 percent to 10.8 percent for people aged 60 to 64.