6.4 million seniors are living in poverty in America. People like the women in this video. Every day they struggle to pay rent, buy food, keep the heat on. Many cut their pills in half to make their prescriptions last longer, many go without heat. Or worse: become homeless. They’re living in your community, probably right down the street from you, making impossible choices every day–their struggles mostly invisible.

Senior poverty is on the rise. Combine an aging population with levels of income inequality not seen since the 1920s and you have a epidemic of suffering. Housing costs are rising, and skyrocketing health care costs devour more of the monthly budget than ever before. The solution is to preserve and expand social safety net programs like SSI and Medicaid to meet the growing needs of growing numbers of low-income seniors.

Need by the numbers:

  • Every day 10,000 people in America turn 65.
  • By 2030 there will be 72 million seniors living in poverty in America.
  • Pensions are rare in today’s economy and the average worker doesn’t have enough opportunity to save for retirement
  • Nearly 1 in 5 seniors approaching retirement have no retirement savings at all.
  • 54% of working-age households were unprepared for retirement in 2010 compared to 31% in 1983
  • Homelessness among seniors is projected to increase 33% by 2020 and 100% by 2050
  • In 2013, 2.9 million (9%) households with seniors experienced food insecurity.
  • The number of food insecure seniors is projected to increase by 50% when the youngest of the Baby Boom Generation reaches age 60 in 2025
  • Hungry seniors are 60 percent more likely to experience depression, 53 percent more likely to report a heart attack, 52 percent more likely to develop asthma, 40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure.

Resources:

Issue Brief: Aging, Women, and Poverty in California: We must do more Published November 2016 in collaboration with the California Commission on Aging, The California Commission on the Status of Women, and the California Women’s Law Center

Special Report: How to Prevent and End Homelessness Among Older Adults Published in April 2016 by Justice in Aging

Visual Slides: Race, Gender, Poverty, and Income Inequality Among America’s Seniors, presented at the National Aging and Law Conference in October 2015

Senior Poverty Forum: Dignity for All: Ensuring Economic Security as America Ages. On November 15, 2016, Justice in Aging hosted a forum  in Washington DC, featuring researchers, service providers, and advocates exploring the issue of economic security for older Americans and their families. Our three panels focused on the growing numbers of seniors living in poverty, efforts local providers are undertaking to serve these seniors, and policies we can advance to improve their lives.

Our work fighting senior poverty is more important today than ever. We need you to join us. Learn more about our work to defend the right of seniors to age in dignity, sign our petition to end senior poverty, and donate to support our work.