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A Profile of Older Americans: 2010

Poverty

Almost 3.4 million elderly persons (8.9%) were below the poverty level in 2009. This poverty rate is statistically different from the poverty rate in 2008 (9.7%). Another 2.1 million or 5.4% of the elderly were classified as "near-poor" (income between the poverty level and 125% of this level).

One of every 15 elderly Whites** (6.6%) was poor in 2009, compared to 19.5% of elderly African-Americans, 15.8% of Asians, and 18.3% of elderly Hispanics. Higher than average poverty rates were found in 2009 for older persons who lived in principal cities (11.5%), outside metropolitan areas (i.e. rural areas and small towns) (10.0%), and in the South (9.8%).

Older women had a higher poverty rate (10.7%) than older men (6.6%) in 2009. Older persons living alone were much more likely to be poor (15.6%) than were older persons living with families (5.4%). The highest poverty rates were experienced among Hispanic women (44.6%) who lived alone and also by older Black women (33.0%) who lived alone.

(Based on data from Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009,” P60 238, issued September, 2010, by the U.S. Census Bureau and related Census detailed tables on the U.S. Census Bureau web site)

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600