Raw Data: Projected Poverty Among the Elderly

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The current rate of poverty among the elderly is 9.8 percent, compared to 15.7 percent for those under age 65. But what about the future? The Social Security Administration projects that poverty rates will continue to decline for the elderly. About 7 percent of depression babies, who started retiring in 1990, currently live in poverty, compared to a forecast of 5.7 percent for Gen Xers, who will begin retiring in 2030. However, these averages hide some stark differences:

Not all groups are expected to do so well. Among high school dropouts, poverty rates are projected to increase from 13.5 percent to 24.9 percent…before declining to 18 percent for [GenXers]….Given the projected increase in minorities and immigrants, as well as the historic increase in women’s labor force participation, retirees with low labor force attachment are increasingly low-educated, low-skilled, and disabled. Not surprisingly, those retirees are projected to have very high poverty rates.

By 2030, SSA forecasts that poverty will be all but eradicated for every income group except one: the very poorest. This is unsurprising but nonetheless far-reaching in its policy implications: If you are poor during your working career you will continue to be poor when you retire. If not, then not. Our retirement programs should be set accordingly.

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without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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