A new Kaiser Family Foundation brief and interactive map provide the latest national and state-level estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau of the share of people ages 65 and older who are living in poverty. In 2016, 9.3 percent of seniors, or 4.6 million people, lived in poverty, based on the official poverty threshold of $11,511 in income for an individual age 65 or older. That year 30.4 percent, or 15 million seniors, had income under twice the poverty threshold. Under an alternative measure of poverty, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the analysis shows a larger share and number of seniors living below poverty thresholds. That measure, developed in response to concerns that the official measure does not accurately reflect people’s financial resources or liabilities, takes into account out-of-pocket health care costs, regional variation in housing costs and other factors.
Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, 14.5 percent of people ages 65 and older, or 7.1 million, were living in poverty in 2016—2.5 million more seniors in poverty than under the official measure. And under this measure, 42.4 percent, or 20.9 million people, had incomes below twice the poverty level—5.9 million more seniors than under the official poverty measure.
SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation