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Social Security Is a Critical Income Source for Older Americans: State-Level Estimates, 2010–2012

Social Security benefits are a key income source for older Americans. For most, these benefits are the only source of retirement income guaranteed for life and adjusted to keep pace with inflation. In 2012, about 38 million (88%) people aged 65 and older lived in a family that received Social Security. These benefits are also vital to the retirement well-being of many older Americans: in 2012, Social Security benefits kept 35% of older Americans (or more than 15 million) out of poverty.

This Fact Sheets highlights the extent to which older Americans rely on Social Security benefits. More specifically, this Fact Sheet shows the percentage of individuals who rely on Social Security for 50% and 90% of their households’ income by state.

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