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A Profile of Older Americans: 2011

Income

The median income of older persons in 2010 was $25,704 for males and $15,072 for females. From 2009 to 2010, median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people fell 1.5% but this was not statistically significant. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2010 of $45,763 ($47,584 for non-Hispanic Whites, $32,338 for Hispanics, $37,037 for African-Americans, and $42,986 for Asians). About 6.3% of family households with an elderly householder had incomes less than $15,000 and 64.1% had incomes of $35,000 or more (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Percent Distribution by Income: 2010
Figure 7F is a chart showing the the number of older persons in various categories of family household income for 2010.  A few (6.3%) are in the two lowest categories (up to $15,000 ) Most are spread around the middle and upper categories.  26% earned $75,000 or more.
$45,763 median for 13.5 million family households 65+

Figure 7P is a chart showing personal income of older persons.  19.6% report under $10,000.  About half are in the middle categories ($10,000 to $35,000).  Almost 25% have personal incomes of $35,000 or more.
$18,819 median for 37.9 million persons 65+ reporting income

For all older persons reporting income in 2010 (37.9 million), 19.6% reported less than $10,000 and 37.6% reported $25,000 or more. The median income reported was $18,819..

The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2009 were Social Security (reported by 87% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 53%), private pensions (reported by 28%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 26%). In 2009, Social Security benefits accounted for 38% of the aggregate income of the older population. The bulk of the remainder consisted of earnings (29%), asset income (11%), and pensions (19%). Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 35% of beneficiaries (22% of married couples and 43% of non-married beneficiaries).

(Based on data from Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010” P60-239, issued September, 2011 by the U.S. Census Bureau, related Census detailed tables on the U.S. Census Bureau web site, and from Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2011, Social Security Administration)

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