Why Did Poverty Drop for the Elderly?

Alicia H. MunnellApril Yanyuan Wu Josh Hurwitz

IB#10-16

The brief’s key findings are:

  • The Census Bureau just reported a big jump in the poverty rate in 2009.
  • But poverty rates actually fell for those over 65 as:
    • Social Security recipients got a large cost-of-living adjustment and a one-time stimulus payment; and
    • the poverty threshold dipped due to lower inflation in 2009.
  • This situation is temporary, with old-age poverty likely to rise in 2010 and 2011.