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Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage of Older Americans, 2008

According to a new PPI Fact Sheet by Ke Bin Wu of the AARP Public Policy Institute, median household income and median family income declined between 2007 and 2008, coinciding with the recession.  The decline in income was greatest for households and families headed by persons age 45 to 54.  The income of the elderly did not decline, but as in past years, elderly households and families had lower incomes than others. 

Poverty also increased in 2008 for all age groups except the elderly.  The official poverty rate for the elderly is lower than that of non-elderly adults or children.  However, the official poverty measure is outdated, particularly for older persons. Using a better measure of poverty, we find that the poverty rate for older persons is double that of the official measure, and higher than that of other age groups. 

Non-elderly adults were less likely to have health insurance than were children or the elderly, and rates of coverage among non-elderly adults declined slightly between 2007 and 2008.  Minority families had lower incomes, higher poverty rates and lower health insurance coverage rates than others.