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Administration on Aging (AoA)


The median income of older persons in 2012 was $27,612 for males and $16,040 for females. From 2011 to 2012, median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people rose .1% but this was not statistically significant. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2012 of $48,957 ($50,701 for non-Hispanic Whites, $33,913 for Hispanics, $40,348 for African-Americans, and $56,378 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: 2012

Figure 7F is a chart showing the number of older persons in various categories of family household income for 2012.  A few (5%) are in the two lowest categories (up to $15,000).  Most are spread around the middle and upper categories. 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 28% have personal incomes of $35,000 or more.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

For all older persons reporting income in 2012 (41.8 million), 17% reported less than $10,000 and 41% reported $25,000 or more. The median income reported was $20,380.

The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2011 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 28%). In 2011, Social Security benefits accounted for 36% of the aggregate income of the older population. The bulk of the remainder consisted of earnings (32%), asset income (11%), and pensions (18%). Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 35% of beneficiaries (22% of married couples and 45% of non-married beneficiaries).

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement; and "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011," P60 245, issued September, 2013. Social Security Administration,“Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2013.”

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600