Category: Seniors

Resource Category Topic Type
Deaths Exceed Births in Record Number of U.S. Counties
In this fact sheet, author Kenneth Johnson examines new data released by the Census Bureau which provide insights into the continuing influence of the Great Recession on U.S. demographic trends. He reports that, for the first time in U.S. history, deaths exceeded births in two entire states: Maine and West Virginia, and a record 36 percent of all U.S.
Demography Birth Rates, Demography, Mortality, Seniors Publication
Demographic Trends in Rural and Small Town America
This report examines the changing demographics of rural America and shows that the makeup of rural America is changing as certain regions grow with the migration of retirees and baby boomers into amenity-rich areas. At the same time, other places face economic uncertainty as younger residents continue to leave in search of more opportunities. Racial and ethnic diversity, meanwhile, continues to increase.
Demography Demography, Migration, Race, Rural, Seniors, Young Adults Publication
Home Care Workers: Keeping Granite Staters in Their Homes as They Age
Using data from the New Hampshire Direct Care Workforce Survey, this brief shows that New Hampshire's demand for home-based care workers outpaces supply because its population is aging at a faster rate than the national average. These workers play a critical role and face many challenges, including low pay, little or no paid time off, and lack of access to health insurance.
New Hampshire Employment, New Hampshire, Seniors, Wages Publication
Official Poverty Statistics Mask the Economic Vulnerability of Seniors
In this brief, we compare Maine, one of the oldest states in the nation, to the United States as a whole. Historically, both children and the elderly were regarded as vulnerable groups in need of support from government programs. Traditional poverty estimates suggest that at least since the late 1960s, senior poverty has been on the decline, whereas poverty among children has increased. Declines among seniors are largely attributable to the advent of programs such as Social Security. Similar to the nation, about half of Maine seniors (51.0 percent) would be poor without Social Security benefits. However, traditional poverty measurement masks the role rising medical costs play in pushing seniors into poverty. The newer Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which accounts for these costs, reveals that more than one in ten Maine seniors over age 55 were living below the poverty line in 2009–2013. This is 2.3 percentage points higher than official estimates suggest. Without medical expenses, the SPM indicates that poverty among Maine seniors would be roughly cut in half, from 10.2 percent to 5.2 percent. A similar reduction is evident across the United States (from 14.2 percent to 9.0 percent), though this represents a smaller relative reduction in poverty (by just over one-third).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health, Poverty, Seniors Publication
Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less
This Carsey brief finds that the percentage of Americans age 65 and older remaining in the labor force continues to grow steadily in urban, suburban, and rural areas. In 2009, 22 percent of older men and 13 percent of older women were still working compared to 17 percent of men and 9 percent of women in 1995. Moreover, increasing percentages of older workers hold full-time, full-year jobs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Seniors Publication
Senior Tax Breaks on the Move—but Are Seniors Actually Moving?
Every state in the United States with an income tax offers some kind of tax break to its older citizens. These breaks are often sizable, resulting in an elderly household owing substantially less in income taxes than a non-elderly household with the same income. In Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, married elderly households can have incomes well over $100,000 and not owe any state income taxes at all. Such tax breaks come at considerable cost to state coffers, a cost that is almost certain to grow as the elderly population grows in both size and economic status. Yet there is little evidence that these tax breaks are providing states with any economic benefit, and the savings are skewed toward those in little need of public support. These tax breaks appear to be expanding. Since the beginning of 2017, legislators in at least thirteen states have proposed or established significant expansions: Laws eliminating all taxes on Social Security income have been proposed in Vermont, Montana, and Minnesota, with projected annual budget costs of $30 million, $75 million, and approximately $425 million, respectively. Laws that would go further and exempt all pension income have been proposed in Connecticut and Nebraska. In January, Arkansas began exempting all military pension income from taxation, and similar laws are being considered in at least six other states. After much debate last year, New Jersey enacted legislation doubling the $20,000 exemption on retirement income in 2017 and increasing it to $100,000 by 2020.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Demography, Seniors, Tax Publication
The State of Working Vermont 2006
Vermont enjoys higher-than-average workforce participation rates and the lowest unemployment in New England, but the state's wage levels remain well below regional standards and the workforce is aging, finds this issue brief prepared by the Carsey Institute in partnership with the Public Assets Institute of Vermont. The brief highlights trends related to the economic and labor force characteristics of Vermont's workers.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, New England, Seniors, Wages Publication
The Unmet Need for Care
Many older adults need care but do not receive it. Often frail from chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or arthritis, some need help bathing, dressing, or eating, while others need help taking medications, shopping for groceries, or preparing food. Although many older adults receive help from children, spouses, neighbors, or paid home health care providers, others have few people to whom to turn in times of need. A recent study described Monica, an older woman who lives alone and suffers from decreased mobility, painful arthritis, and fatigue. She says: “Because of my breathlessness, I can’t walk any great distances. I’m slower these days. I’ve got a walking stick now but it’s hard to manage a walking stick sometimes. It’s difficult getting groceries into my house, carrying the groceries up the stairs—I have to make several trips. I can’t carry too many at a time now. But I haven’t really got anybody that I could ring up and ask them to come. That’s where perhaps I feel isolated.”1 Bette, a married woman who cares for herself and her increasingly disabled husband, experienced acute back pain over a recent long weekend, and spent days waiting for an appointment with her primary care physician so that she did not have to go to the emergency room and leave her husband alone. She says: “I was writing something and the phone rang and I tried to get off the chair and I couldn’t. The pain was excruciating and I couldn’t get to the phone. I couldn’t get off the chair. We couldn’t get medical attention unless I went to the hospital. It was the May Day long weekend.” Bette spent the entire three days in pain.2
Vulnerable Families Research Program Disability, Health, Seniors Publication
Utilization of Long-Term Care by an Aging Population
The aging of the U.S. population is an ongoing trend. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050 one in every five Americans will be over 65,1 and that by 2060 the over-65 population will have doubled in absolute size and the over-85 population will have tripled.2 Life expectancy of a 65-year-old in 2014 compared to 1980 was 3.9 years longer for a man and 4.3 years longer for a woman.3
Vulnerable Families Research Program Disability, Family, Health, Seniors Publication