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Administration on Aging (AoA)

A Profile of Older Americans: 2012


The median income of older persons in 2011 was $27,707 for males and $15,362 for females. From 2010 to 2011, median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people rose 2% but this was not statistically significant. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2011 of $48,538 ($50,658 for non-Hispanic Whites, $33,809 for Hispanics, $39,533 for African-Americans, and $50,971 for Asians). About 5% of family households with an elderly householder had incomes less than $15,000 and 67% had incomes of $35,000 or more (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Percent Distribution by Income: 2011
Figure 7F is a chart showing the number of older persons in various categories of family household income for 2011.  A few (5%) are in the two lowest categories (up to $15,000).  Most are spread around the middle and upper categories.  29%; earned $75,000 or more.
$48,538 median for 14.4 million family households 65+

Figure 7P is a chart showing personal income of older persons.  17% report under $10,000.  About half are in the middle categories ($10,000 to $35,000).  Almost 27% have personal incomes of $35,000 or more.
$19,939 median for 40.2 million persons 65+ reporting income.

For all older persons reporting income in 2011 (40.2 million), 17.8% reported less than $10,000 and 40% reported $25,000 or more. The median income reported was $19,939.

The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2010 were Social Security (reported by 86% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 52%), private pensions (reported by 27%), government employee pensions (reported by 15%), and earnings (reported by 26%). In 2010, Social Security benefits accounted for 37% of the aggregate income of the older population. The bulk of the remainder consisted of earnings (30%), asset income (11%), and pensions (18%). Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 36% of beneficiaries (23% of married couples and 46% of non-married beneficiaries).

(Based on online data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 1) Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement; and 2) "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011," P60 243, issued September, 2012. The Social Security Administration’s “Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2012.”)

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Last Modified: 8/25/2014