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Economic Security for Seniors Fact Sheet – 2012


Over 20 million Americans age 60+ are economically insecure – living at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) produced this fact sheet to provide a snapshot of the financial struggles facing older Americans, and the NCOA’s role in alleviating those issues.

Key Points

This fact sheet provides detailed statistical information on economic issues such as income, housing, and debt, and how they relate to older Americans. Currently, Social Security keeps 20.3 million seniors and people with disability out of poverty each year, as many older adults depend on it as their primary source of income.

Other fact sheet highlights include:

  1. More accurate measures of poverty show millions more Americans struggling to meet monthly expenses, despite living above the Federal Poverty Line of $10,458 for a single elder.
  2. Fifty-six percent of older women are considered economically disadvantaged, compared to 30 percent of men, a product of the gender-related income gap.
  3. After meeting essential expenses, one-third of senior households either has no money left each month, or is in debt. Likewise, 14 percent of adults face retirement with a negative net worth.
  4. Housing costs continue to be an issue for many older Americans, as 28 percent of all foreclosures and delinquencies are from individuals age 50 and older.
  5. The NCOA offers several programs to support economically insecure older adults, including the Economic Security Initiative, and the National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment.

How to Use

An alarming number of older adults are economically insecure, with many others only one major life event away from a similar situation. Recognizing the employment trends and attitudes of older workers also helps local organizations and advocacy groups provide support to these individuals. Policy makers also need to also be aware of these economic situations in their communities.

View full report: Economic Security for Seniors Fact Sheet – 2012 (PDF – 147 KB)

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