California Seniors Struggle To Make Ends Meet

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development released a policy briefing last week that shows that almost 500,000 seniors living in California cannot make ends meet. The report, “Half a Million Older Californians Living Alone Unable to Make Ends Meet“, identifies seniors living alone as the ones who are at the greatest economic risk.

The report shows that housing is the biggest cost for most older Californians and 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% for single renters vs. 34.4% for owners without mortgages, with an even wider gap for couples). The report states that over one-third of California elders who
lived alone rented and that among all Californians age 65 and older, about one-third lived in rental housing, just over one-fourth in an owner-occupied house
with an outstanding mortgage, and more than one-third in an owner-occupied house with a paid-off mortgage.


Among the other findings:

    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 men).
    The very old at risk
    A majority of all single elders aged 75 or older were economically insecure, regardless of ethnicity. More than 90 percent of female single renters aged 75 and older who were Latino or Asian had incomes below the Elder Index, as did two-thirds of all white single renters and 85 percent of all African American single renters aged 75 and older.
    FPL indicates only half of what is needed
    In 2007, the nationwide federal poverty level (FPL), used to determine eligibility for public assistance, was $10,210 for a single adult living alone. According to Elder Index calculations, however, the average minimum income needed by a single older Californian who rented was $21,011.

For the full report, click here.