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Social Security: A Key Retirement Income Source for Older Minorities

Social Security is important for the economic well-being of older Americans, but it is particularly important to minorities.  About 80 percent of African Americans and Hispanics and 70 percent of Asians age 65 and older depend on it for part of their family income. Minorities are much more likely to receive Social Security than any other source of retirement income.  Although minorities typically receive lower Social Security benefits than other groups, they rely on them more.  One-third of older African Americans and Hispanics in families receiving Social Security depend on it for more than 90 percent of their family income. Social Security also keeps roughly one-third of older African Americans and Hispanics and 20 percent of older Asians out of poverty.

This Fact Sheet focuses on older Americans’ reliance on various sources of retirement income by race, ethnicity and nativity.  It also discusses features of the Social Security program important to older minorities and policies both inside and outside of Social Security that could improve minorities’ retirement security.

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