Monday, May 24, 2010

grey poverty

The fact that 3.7 million older adults do not have sufficient cash income to meet their basic expenses too often escapes attention of the media. AARP’s Public Policy Institute produced an interesting report on the older American population.

Nearly one in ten adults age 65 and above live in a family with income below the official U.S. poverty line, or federal poverty level (FPL).Today, nearly 3.7 million older adults (9.7 percent of adults age 65 and older) live marginally above the poverty threshold (between 100 percent and 125 percent of the federal poverty line), and 2.6 million have incomes between 125 percent and 150 percent of the federal poverty line. Overall, 36.2 percent of older adults, or 13.7 million adults age 65 and older, have low income—defined as 200 percent of the FPL.

In 2008, an adult age 65 and older living alone was counted as poor if his or her annual cash income before taxes was below $10,326. An elderly couple with income below $13,014 was counted as poor. Nearly one in six older adults was poor or near poor, with income below 125 percent of the FPL, and about a third had low income—below 200 percent of the FPL. The official U.S. poverty measure has been in use for more than four decades, but increasingly, it fails to accurately describe who is and who is not poor, and it does an especially inadequate job of measuring the extent of poverty among older adults. Nearly twice as many adults age 65 and above are poor when newer measurement approaches are used.The official poverty measure describes the number and percentage of people who have pre-tax cash family income inadequate to meet their most basic needs for shelter, food, and clothing. Constructed more than four decades ago—and adjusted only for price inflation since then—the poverty measure is widely regarded as out-of-date. Recent efforts to measure the income needed to pay for ordinary expenses find that the income needed for a decent standard of living is significantly higher than the federal poverty level (FPL).

59 percent of poor older adults depend on Social Security for all or nearly all (90 percent or more) of their family income.Details describe the fact that twenty percent of older adults who are black or Hispanic are poor, and poverty hits older people with limited education and those who are not married especially hard. Most poor adults age 65 and older are not married—either widowed (43 percent), divorced or separated (19 percent), or never married (8 percent). Older women of color are especially likely to live in poverty. Nearly a quarter of older women who are black or Hispanic are poor, and more than a third are poor or near poor (with income below 125 percent of the FPL).

In 2008, 22.1 percent of low income elderly households (with incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line) were “food insecure” (they had limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods). This is a substantial increase from 2006, when 17.6 percent of the very low-income elderly had low or very low food security.Moreover, in 2008, roughly 10 percent of low-income elderly households had very low food security: They not only had limited or uncertain availability of food, but they ate less than they felt they should, cut the size of meals, or skipped meals in three or more months during the year.

Poor older adults tend to be in worse health than adults who are not poor. They tend to have more chronic and disabling health conditions. Poor health and disability, on top of very limited income and inadequate insurance protection, mean that health care costs are a burden for many poor older adults.

Housing takes an even bigger bite out of the incomes of poor older adults. Housing costs absorb more than 30 percent of income for 80 percent of poor older households.

As the previous post explains the worst poverty is usually suffered by those who for some reason such as old age or racial descriminatin but we all suffer poverty , some perhaps worse than others but the cure is to tackle the root cause , to recognise to solve one person's poverty is to deal with everybody's ragardless of individual degree .

No comments: