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Single 'Boomers' Struggling as They Age: Study

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Single baby boomers generally have poorer health and less money than their married counterparts, a new study says.

The first of the 79 million baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) in the United States reached age 65 in 2011. About one-third of baby boomers are unmarried because of divorce, the death of their spouse or because they never married.

Researchers examined national data and found that the number of unmarried boomers has increased by more than 50 percent since 1980, and that many single boomers have difficult lives.

The study appears in the April issue of the journal The Gerontologist.

"Unmarried boomers are disproportionately women, younger and non-white," study authors I-Fen Lin and Susan Brown said in a journal news release. "They tend to have fewer economic resources and poorer health."

Even though they have higher rates of disability, single boomers are less likely than married boomers to have health insurance.

Widowed boomer women have less money and poorer health than divorced or never-married boomer women. Among single male boomers, those who never married have less money and are more likely to live alone.

The researchers also found that 19 percent of single boomers said they received food stamps, public assistance or supplemental Social Security income, compared with 6 percent of married boomers.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging offers resources about health and aging.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Gerontologist, news release, April 4, 2012

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