Do Assets Change the Racial Profile of Poverty among Older Adults?

Brief

Do Assets Change the Racial Profile of Poverty among Older Adults?

March 4, 2008

Abstract

According to the federal government, elderly poverty rates among blacks are nearly triple and among Hispanics are more than double those of whites. Data from the 2004 Health and Retirement Study on adults age 65 and older, living alone or with only a spouse, show how assets, which are excluded from the official poverty measure, change elderly poverty overall and between racial/ethnic groups. Adding imputed housing rent and annuitized asset values to resources reduced overall poverty by 1.8 percentage points, but increased racial disparities because blacks and Hispanics have relatively little housing equity or financial assets.

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