Many Americans Over 65 Face Economic Insecurity, Even If They’re Healthy

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The majority of Americans living alone are at risk of not being able to pay for basic needs.

That’s according to new estimates of financial insecurity among Americans 65 and older from the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The Elder Index calculated by the university and other researchers tracks the income needed for older adults in good health. It shows that on average a single person without a mortgage requires $21,012 per year to pay for basic needs, or $31,800 per couple. Regional price variations change the estimates significantly.

The estimated budget covers basic needs such as housing and food but excludes vacations, restaurant meals or entertainment expenses. Regionally, the cost of living independently ranges from $21,504 for singles renting in Alabama to a high of $33,060 in the nation’s capital.

States in the Northeast comprise the majority of the 10 states with the largest elder economic insecurity rates. The costliest states also break down overwhelmingly as those that tend to vote Democratic, while the most affordable generally lean Republican.


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