Older women face increasing economic struggles

New York City - Old Woman in Little Odessa - Brighton Beach - Brooklyn - photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D.
New York City - Old Woman in Little Odessa - Brighton Beach - Brooklyn - photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D.

Older women in Minnesota, and across the country, are having a hard time making ends meet.  A report released this month by the Minnesota legislature’s Office on the Economic Status of Women says that women over 65 are more likely to be in poverty than comparable men, and that the chances of a woman being in poverty increase with age. 
 
According to the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Standard Index (MinnEESI), or Elder Index, a single, elder renter needs about $20,000 a year to meet basic expenses and remain in the community setting of their choice, also called “aging in place.”  However, an older Minnesotan woman, living on Social Security alone, has an average income of about $11,000, nearly half that amount.  In 2007, 1 in 6 (16.9%) Minnesotan women age 65 years and older were at 100% of the poverty line compared to 1 in 11 (9.2%) of men age 65 years and older.
 
To address the issue of economic security for Minnesota’s elders, the Minnesota Women’s Consortium, a coalition of 170 women’s groups across the state, is promoting the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative, which seeks to educate state advocates, policymakers and the public on the real cost of living for retirees in Minnesota and the increasing economic difficulties they face.
 
The legislative report on the economic status of older Minnesota women is available online at oesw.leg.mn.  For more information about the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative, go to wowonline.org .

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