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Census paints grim picture for seniors

The report predicts there will be 11.1 million people 65 and older still working by 2018, nearly twice the current number.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 6, 2011 12:40PM

This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.

 

More Americans may be living longer, but as new census data shows, the lifestyles of the 65 and older set are anything but golden.

 

The median income of households in this age group was just $31,354 in 2009, according to the Census Bureau, which was 5.8% higher than the year before, but still nearly $20,000 short of the median income for U.S. households overall. What's more, 3.4 million seniors, or nearly a 10th of this age group, lived in poverty in 2009. Post continues after video.

More older Americans are expected to be a part of the workforce in the coming years, as the census report predicts there will be 11.1 million people 65 and older employed by 2018, nearly double the 6.5 million people in that age group who were part of the labor force as recently as 2009. But seniors looking to work in the future may be hampered by a lack of education as they search for jobs.

While three-quarters of those 65 and older have graduated high school, just 20% have a bachelor's degree or higher, which may simply be due to a paradigm shift in recent decades about the value of college. Perhaps as a result, less than half of the employed members of this age group currently work in management positions, according to the census.

Just half of those 65 and older were married in 2009, while more than a quarter were widowed, and a 10th were divorced. Some 20% didn't own their homes, and the vast majority (66%) lived with relatives, but the data doesn't show whether this was by choice or necessity.

 

One thing seems not to have changed for this age group, though: When it comes time to find a place to retire, seniors tend to gravitate to the warmer climates of California and Florida, which boast the highest populations of people 65 and older in the country, according to the census data.

 

More from MainStreet and MSN Money:

3Comments
Apr 7, 2011 12:04PM
avatar

The median income of households in [the 65+] age group was just $31,354 in 2009 [. . .] nearly $20,000 short of the median income for U.S. households overall.

 

This isn't a cause for alarm. Income requirements for the 65+ folks should be substantially less than in their working years, what with the mortgage, savings and investment outflows, the kids, the employment expenses, the furniture, did I mention the savings and investment outflows, etc.

 

Even those retirement plan touts who've been saying, "You've gotta have 80% of your working income or you're a failure and will starve!" are increasingly discounted as just selling a service with alarmist advertising.

 

In reality, you could always use 100 (or 1,000) times your income. Charity and gifting know no bounds. But if you can't be 65+ and living well on 50% to 60% of what you made in the working years, you've got a problem - profligacy - that 20 grand won't fix for you.

Apr 7, 2011 12:02PM
avatar

The median income of households in [the 65+] age group was just $31,354 in 2009 [. . .] nearly $20,000 short of the median income for U.S. households overall.

 

This isn't a cause for alarm. Income requirements for the 65+ folks should be substantially less than in their working years, what with the mortgage, savings and investment outflows, the kids, the employment expenses, the furniture, did I mention the savings and investment outflows, etc.

 

Even those retirement plan touts who've been saying, "You've gotta have 80% of your working income or you're a failure and will starve!" are increasingly discounted as just selling a service with alarmist advertising.

 

In reality, you could always use 100 (or 1,000) times your income. Charity and gifting know no bounds. But if you can't be 65+ and living well on 50% to 60% of what you made in the working years, you've got a problem - profligacy - that 20 grand won't fix for you.

Apr 7, 2011 10:33AM
avatar
So let's privatize Social Security so Wall Street takes a big chunk.

Then gut Medicare so health woes bankrupt a majority of older seniors.

Cat food is not that bad.  I'm writing a new book "Seniors' Guide to Cat Food Casseroles and How Not To Starve to Death in the Coming Decade."

I'd much rather give my last dime to the rich rather than share my cat food with my neighbor.



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