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A Profile of Older Americans: 2002


About 3.4 million elderly persons (10.1%) were below the poverty level in 2001. This poverty rate was not statistically different from the historic low reached in 1999. Another 2.2 million or 6.5% of the elderly were classified as "near-poor" (income between the poverty level and 125% of this level).

One of every twelve (8.9%) elderly Whites was poor in 2001, compared to 21.9% of elderly African-Americans and 21.8% of elderly Hispanics. Higher than average poverty rates for older persons were found among those who lived in central cities (12.8%), outside metropolitan areas (i.e. rural areas) (12.2%), and in the South (12.4%).

Older women had a higher poverty rate (12.4%) than older men (7.0%) in 2000. Older persons living alone or with nonrelatives were much more likely to be poor (19.7%) than were older persons living with families (5.5%). The highest poverty rates (50.5%) were experienced by older Hispanic women who lived alone or with nonrelatives.

(Based on data from Current Population Reports, "Poverty in the United States: 2001," P60-219, Issued September, 2002 and related Internet releases of the U.S. Bureau of the Census).

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