Old Women in Poverty

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Old Women in Poverty.

For the last several decades well being of older Americans has increased, and poverty rates have declined noticeably. The poverty rate among the population aged 65 and older was nearly 30 percent in 1966, bur it decreased to around 10 percent in 2000. This improvement has been connected with general economic growth and with changes in retirement policies (Bernadett, and Dalaker). However, improvements among the elderly have not been equally shared by man and women. Elderly women are more likely to be poor than elderly man, and as time goes the risk of poverty only increases. According to data from the March Current Population in 2007, the poverty rate among women aged 65 and older in 2006 was 17 percent for the widowed, 22 percent for the divorced, 23 percent for the never married, whereas the rate was only 5 percent for the married. Greater risk of poverty in old age for women then for men makes it important to understand how various life circumstances such as material status, education, employment, and health affect women’s economic well-being as they enter the retirement period. Material status plays an important role for older women’s economic well-being, as indicated by higher rate of poverty among widows then the married. Because of the longer life expectancy for women then for men, women are more likely to experience the loss of their spouses and live alone in old age. Nearly 45 percent of all women 65 and older between 1998 and 2000 were unmarried and living alone, compared with only 16 percent of men 65 and older. (Sunhwa, and Shaw). While poverty rates among the elderly are relatively low for married couples, they are much higher for unmarried women, who were divorced, widowed, or never married. Deeper studies on women poverty show that material status plays a key role for women’s economic well-being in older age, since their financial security is often closely related to their husband’s employment. As a result women who have...
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