Seniors of Color Face Crisis, New Report Finds

Latino, African American and Asian Seniors Especially Vulnerable as Congress Ponders Social Security Cuts; Official Stats Fail to Measure Senior Poverty

African American, Asian American and Latino senior citizens are economically vulnerable and getting more so, a new report from The Greenlining Institute finds. Because they have less access to pensions or other forms of retirement savings, these groups may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cuts to Social Security and Medicare likely to be considered by the 12-member special congressional committee created by the budget deal signed this week by President Obama.

The report, available online here, concludes:

An astonishing 91 percent of African American and Latino seniors are financially vulnerable. While data on Asian Americans is more sparse, some Asian ethnic groups have poverty rates three to four times that of whites.
Federal poverty standards fail to measure factors that disproportionately affect elders, leaving many who are financially struggling uncounted — and thus ineligible for many benefits.
As the “three-legged stool” of retirement security (Social Security, pensions and savings) is collapsing, the foreclosure crisis has greatly worsened the wealth gap between racial groups while budget cuts impair vital programs that assist struggling senior citizens.
“While the recession has affected all Americans, the effects have been truly devastating for Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans hoping to retire with some dignity,” said Greenlining Institute Community Reinvestment Director Preeti Vissa. “There are concrete actions that federal and state governments can take, but the essential first step is to recognize the extent of the problem — and to immediately take off the table any proposal that will plunge our most vulnerable elders into poverty.”

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