Social Security is a key source of retirement income for the nearly 57 million older Americans who received it. In 2011, almost 24 percent of people aged 65 and older lived in families that depended on Social Security benefits for 90 percent or more of their income. Another 26 percent received at least half but less than 90 percent of their family income from Social Security. Reliance on Social Security increases with age, with almost one third of persons aged 80 and older depending on Social Security for 90 percent or more of family income. And it kept 35 percent of older Americans out of poverty.
This fact sheet illustrates the importance of resolving Social Security’s long-term solvency problem by highlighting the critical role Social Security plays in the retirement security of many older Americans.