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James Parks – Study: Half of Seniors at Risk for Poverty

From the AFL-CIO Now Blog:

Study: Half of Seniors at Risk for Poverty

by James Parks, Dec 8, 2010

Photo credit: Alliance for Retired Americans

Here’s one big reason congressional Republicans and the deficit hawks are dead wrong about cutting Social Security benefits: According to a new study, nearly half (47.4 percent) of all Americans between the ages of 60 and 90 will experience at least one year of poverty or near poverty and seniors of color are twice as likely to be affected.

The study by Mark Rank, a professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, shows that 58 percent of seniors between 60 and 84 will, at some point, not have enough liquid assets to allow them to weather an unanticipated expense or downturn in income.

But if you are a senior who is black or unmarried or have less than a high school education, the likelihood that you will be poor at some point increases dramatically. Rank found that although 32.7 percent of white older Americans will experience at least one year below the official poverty line, the percentage for black older Americans was nearly double at 64.6 percent.

For unmarried seniors, the percentage experiencing poverty was 51.2 percent compared with 24.9 percent for married older Americans. Likewise, for those with fewer than 12 years of education, the percentage experiencing poverty was 48.4 percent compared with 20.5 percent for those with 12 or more years of education.

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