Nearly half of all Americans between the ages of 60 and 90 will encounter at least one year of poverty or near poverty, says a recent study by Mark R. Rank, PhD, the Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
“Of course, this risk is not evenly distributed across the population,” Rank says. “One of the most drastic economic divides is race.”
Rank found that although 32.7 percent of white older Americans will experience at least one year below the official poverty line, the corresponding percentage for black older Americans was double that at 64.6 percent.
The study also looks at the likelihood of asset poverty and elderly Americans.
“Fifty-eight percent of those between the ages of 60 and 84 will at some point fail to have enough liquid assets to allow them to weather an unanticipated expense or downturn in income,” he says.
As in the case of income poverty, there is a sharp dividing line in experiencing asset poverty by race.
“Given the current demographic and economic trends in America, this threat is quite likely to remain in the years ahead.”