Social Security Accounts For 40% of Retirement Income for Americans Over 65, Percentage Going To Rise?

Is budgeting social security into the retirement incomes for seniors and their decisions on senior housing critical?  You Betcha. According to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), it represents almost half of the income for those 65 and older.  The study, based on data from 2008, shows the nearly all individuals (89.2 percent) age 65 and older were receiving income from Social Security, while 55.3 percent received income from assets, 35.4 received income from pensions and annuities, and 20.4 percent received income from earnings.  According to the study, real median income (midpoint, 50 percent above and 50 percent below) of those age 65 and older reached $18,001 in 2008, the highest in the Census Bureau time series. This was an increase from $13,264 (in constant 2009 dollars) in 1974 and $17,085 in 2004.

Sources of income:

  • Overall, Social Security accounted on average for 39.8 percent of the income of those 65 and older in 2008.
  • Pension and annuities was 19.7 percent
  • income from assets was 13.0 percent
  • income from earnings was 25.6 percent.


Income by Gender:

  • 48.4 percent of elderly women’s income in 2008
  • 33.7 percent of elderly men’s income
  • And pensions and annuities accounted for 21.8 percent of elderly men’s income, compared with 16.8 percent of elderly women’s.

Considering this survey was done in 2008 during the onset of the economic challenges of the Great Recession, the reliance on Social Security will most likely be nearing 50% or greater as a component of retirement income.

For the full report, visit EBRI.