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Identifying the Poorest Older Americans

Johathan Fisher, David Johnson, Joseph Marchand (), Timothy Smeeding () and B. Boyle Torrey
Additional contact information
Johathan Fisher: Litigation Analytics, Postal: 370 Lexington Ave Suite 1802, New York, NY 10017-6579, http://www.litigationanalytics.com
David Johnson: Census Bureau
Timothy Smeeding: University of Wisconsin, Postal: 3420 Social Sciences Building, Sewell, William H., 1180 Observatory Dr., Madison, WI 53706, http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/facultystaff/smeeding-timothy.html
B. Boyle Torrey: Population Reference Bureau, Postal: 1875 Connecticut Ave, Suite 520, Washington, DC 20009-5728

No 2009-3, Working Papers from University of Alberta, Department of Economics

Abstract: Objectives: Public policies generally target a subset of the population defined as poor or needy, but rarely are people poor or needy in the same way. This is particularly true among older adults, as they have fewer options to compensate for financial decisions made earlier in life. This study investigates poverty among this group in order to identify who among them is financially worst off. Methods: We use 20 years of data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey to examine the income and consumption of older Americans. Results: The poverty rate is cut in fourth if both income and consumption are used to define poverty. Those most likely to be poor using a combined measure over both income and consumption are women, widows, blacks, and renters. The income poor alone display sufficient assets to raise consumption above poverty thresholds, while the consumption poor are shown to have income just above the poverty threshold and have few assets. Discussion: The poorest among the older population are those who are income and consumption poor. Understanding the nature of this double poverty population is important in measuring the success of future public policies to reduce poverty among this group.

Keywords: poverty; consumption; income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I32 J14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age
Date: 2009-01-20
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