Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Elder Economic Security Standard Index, Elder Index, income, older adults, age disparities


Economic Policy | Gerontology | 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 the oldest seniors. 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 indicate that among older adults living alone, 46% of those age 65 to 74 have annual incomes below the Elder Index. The risk of economic insecurity rises to 57% among adults age 75 to 84, and reaches 59% among those who are aged 85 or older. Risk of economic insecurity is considerably lower among older adults living in couple households, but disparities by age are evident among couples as well. 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.



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