Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Elder Economic Security Standard Index, Elder Index, income, older adults, racial and ethnic disparities


Economic Policy | Gerontology | Race and Ethnicity | Social Welfare


New estimates from the 2016 Elder Economic Security StandardTM Index highlight the high risk of economic insecurity experienced by older adults, a risk that is especially high for racial and ethnic minorities. The Gerontology Institute compares the 2016 household incomes for adults age 65 and above living in one- and two-person households to the 2016 Elder Economic Security StandardTM Index for each state and Washington, DC to calculate Elder Economic Insecurity Rates (EEIRs), the percentage of independent older adults age 65 or older living in households with annual incomes that do not support economic security. The EEIRs allow state and local governments to better understand and benchmark how many and which groups of older adults are at risk of financial instability. National averages suggest that among older adults living alone, half of non-Hispanic Whites, along with 61% of Asians, two-thirds of African Americans, and nearly three-quarters of Hispanics have annual incomes below the Elder Index. The risk of economic insecurity is lower among couples than among singles, but is still substantially higher for racial and ethnic minorities than for non-Hispanic Whites. Together, these estimates suggest that nationally, a minimum of 10 million adults age 65 or older struggle to make ends meet, facing financial challenges in their efforts to age in place and in community.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.