By Paula Aven Gladych
Between 2009 and 2011, 3.1 percent of people over the age of 65 entered poverty, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. It also found that although the elderly were less likely to fall in and out of poverty during this time span, once they fell into poverty they stayed there for the entire three years of the study.
About 36.8 percent of elderly adults in poverty in January and February 2009 were poor in all 36 months compared to 30.7 percent for children and 22.7 percent for working-age adults.
Living below the poverty line differs depending on whether a person is single or has a large family. In 2013, the federal poverty line for a family of four was $23,550. For a couple, that figure was $15,510.
The Census Bureau, which gleaned its data for this report from the Survey of Income and Program Participation that it conducts each year, found that people at retirement age had a much lower rate of poverty than those between the ages of 18 and 64, 5.3 percent, and children, 7.1 percent.
In the Census Bureau’s report, it examined the rates of people entering poverty, even if it was just for a few months, and exiting poverty. It also looked at rates of chronic poverty, or those who were classified as poor during the entire 36-month period.
From January 2009 to December 2011, 31.6 percent of the U.S. population was in poverty for at least two months, an increase from 27.1 percent over the period of 2005 to 2007.
The percentage of people in poverty all 36 months from 2009 through 2011 was 3.5 percent, an increase from 3 percent over the period from 2005 to 2007.
By 2011, 5.4 percent of people who were not in poverty in 2009 had entered poverty, the Census Bureau found.
During the 36 months studied, those over the age of 65 were the only demographic group to experience a decrease in their chronic poverty rate from 3.3 percent to 2.3 percent.
Adults over age 65 also had a lower episodic poverty rate than adults 18 to 64 years old, 15.7 percent vs. 31 percent. That means these individuals were in poverty for two or more months during the 36-month time frame studied.
The episodic poverty rate for people in families with a female head of household was 53.1 percent, much higher than the episodic poverty rates for people in other types of families.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com