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California's single seniors can't make ends meet
Date:2/24/2009

oth more and less affluent counties: The two counties with the highest elder economic insecurity are Imperial and San Francisco.

The findings in the policy brief are based on the Elder Economic Security Standard Index (Elder Index) for California, a tool that measures the actual cost of basic necessities for older adults in each of California's 58 counties. The Elder Index is viewed by many as a more accurate measure of economic security than federal poverty level (FPL) guidelines, a standardized national estimate that does not take into account the cost of living in high-cost states such as California.

Policymakers, advocates, service providers and foundations are using the Elder Index to improve programs and policies for older adults across California.

"This data provides an empirical way to demonstrate what those in the community witness daily: Increasingly, our elders cannot get by," said Susan E. Smith, director of Californians for Economic Security at the Insight Center and one of the co-authors of the policy brief. "We are using the information on the ground to promote the Elder Economic Dignity Act of 2009 this legislative season in Sacramento."

Among the findings:

Most older renters can't make ends meet

Older renters were more than twice as likely to be economically insecure as those who owned their homes and had paid off their mortgages (70.4 percent of older single renters were insecure, compared with 34.4 percent of homeowners without mortgages).

Latino elders at risk

About three-fourths of Latino elders who lived alone, and almost half of those who lived with only a spouse, could not cover their basic costs of living.

Women at risk

Older women accounted for 72 percent of all older Californians who lived alone. Those women were more likely than older men to be unable to cover their basic needs (53.5 percent of women, compared with 44 percent of
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Contact: Gwendolyn Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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