December 13, 2012

Household Income Distribution for Senior Citizens

Most senior citizens, aged 65 or older, have relatively low household incomes.    Median household income for people over 65 years is just $33,118 compared to a median of $50,054 for the entire population. 

I got 2011 data from the Census Current Population Survey Table HINC-02. Age of Householder--Households, by Total Money Income in 2011, Type of Household, Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder 

The census data breaks it down into chunks of $5,000 up to $200,000.  But I'll show it in fewer chunks to simplify.

 Here it is broken in a couple charts :


50% of senior households have income between $5,000 and $30,000.

18% of seniors make under $15,000 a year.   
11% of senior households have incomes of $100,000 or more.   
At the top, 2% of seniors take in $200,000 or more.



  1. Off the top of your head, do you know if that includes government transfer payments? Otherwise it doesn't seem too healthy to me (although in the back of my head, I sort of want to 'die broke', so to speak, heh)

  2. It does include social security. I think it also includes other forms of government subsidy too. The source was the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC) which is described as :
    "The questionnaire asks about income from more than 50 sources and records up to 27 different income amounts, including receipt of numerous noncash benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (formerly known as the food stamp program), subsidized school lunches, and housing assistance."

    I don't think the numbers are surprising. Of course it would be better if people had more money and planned better for their retirement but I don't think its as bad as it looks. The median is about 60% of all households. But they aren't paying for social security, usually have paid off houses, no kids to raise, etc. so their expenses are down a lot on average.


  3. I was concerned most about the $30,000 an under brackets - but I read the PDF and saw that was included. I guess the only variables are non-monetary transfer payments, rent assistance, and the potential for under-reporting.

    I guess I was just surprised since when I look at my Social Security estimates (which I recognize likely won't come to fruition), they're well over $30,000 on their own. YMMV, I guess?


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