Unmarried baby boomers will face greater economic hardships compared to their married parents and grandparents, and married counterparts, according to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who was cited in a recent New York Times article.
The last two decades have seen a surging divorce rate among the baby boomer generation, shooting up more than 50%, and at the same time, more adults are remaining single, reports the Times. This trend is expected to affect retirement readiness, especially as “many members of this generation, which has been battered by the recession, have fewer children and thinner financial cushions in savings and pensions.”
The elderly, who have traditionally relied on spouses for their care, will increasingly struggle to fend for themselves. And federal and local governments will have to shoulder much of the cost of their care. Unmarried baby boomers are five times more likely to live in poverty than their married counterparts, statistics show. They are also three times as likely to receive food stamps, public assistance or disability payments.
The surge in the number of older, unmarried Americans has been driven by several factors, including longevity, economics and evolving social mores, according to sociologists.
People are living longer, and many couples in their 50s and 60s—faced with the prospect of a decade or more in unhappy marriages—are reluctant to stay the course. Women, who are increasingly financially independent, are more willing and able to go it alone.
Most unmarried baby boomers are living alone, however, and many are struggling to adjust to new worries about the future. Some are grappling with the ailments of older age.
Read the full New York Times article here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace