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AARP Closer Look (SM) Baseline Survey: September 30, 2009

How do social and economic changes on health, financial and livable communities issues affect Americans age 45 and older? This executive summary reveals that reported economic hardships are widespread though relatively concentrated among certain age cohorts and race/ethnicity groups.

Key findings include:

  • There are reported significant differences in health care coverage status by race and ethnicity for the 45+ population. Among these is a relatively greater percentage of Hispanics reporting being uninsured for at least a year.
  • A greater percentage of those age 45-64 report difficulties paying medical bills than do those 65 and older. The latter group, generally, is Medicare-eligible.
  • A greater percentage of those age 45-64 report difficulties paying for gasoline than do those 65 and older.
  • More African Americans and Hispanics report having difficulties with expenses related to housing than do Whites. More African Americans and Hispanics, relative to Whites, report havingproblems paying rent or mortgage and having problems paying for essential items such as food and utilities (like electricity, heat and the water bill).
  • Fewer African Americans and Hispanics than Whites report being confident in their ability to handle potential expenses related to health care. This includes being relatively less confident than Whites in the ability to pay for a major medical illness and being relatively less confident that their savings or income is sufficient to take care of medical and living expenses in retirement.
  • A greater percentage of those age 45-64 report that a lack of practical and convenient public transportation options is a problem in their community than do those 65 or older.

A nationally representative sample of 939 respondents 45 years of age or older completed RDD telephone interviews during July 22 – August 3, 2009. Of those, 100 respondents were Hispanic and 103 respondents were African American. AARP Closer Look(SM) is an AARP-commissioned quarterly nationwide survey program. For more information on these baseline findings, contact Gerard Rainville at 202-434- 6295. (14 pages)

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