Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2008

 

Key Terms and Concepts for Section 10 1

Age. Age classification is based on the age of the person at his or her last birthday as of March 2009. A married couple's age is defined as the age of the husband—unless he is under age 55 and the wife is 55 or older, in which case it is the age of the wife.

Aged unit. With age 55 as the cutoff, aged units are defined as married couples living together—at least one of whom is 55 or older—and nonmarried persons 55 or older.

Marital status. Married persons are married and living with their spouse. Nonmarried persons may be divorced, widowed, never married, separated, or married but living apart from their spouse.

Race. The categories White alone, Black alone, and Asian alone reflect respondents who reported only one race. Because of changes to the race category, data on race are not directly comparable to editions prior to 2002. A person's race is his or her reported race. A married couple's race is defined as the race of the husband.

Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. A married couple is of Hispanic origin if the husband is of Hispanic origin.

Family. A family is a group of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together; all such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.

Social Security beneficiary. A beneficiary may be receiving retired-worker benefits, dependents' or survivor benefits, disability benefits, or transitionally insured benefits.

Poverty. The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to detect who is poor. If a family's total income is less than that family's threshold, then that family, and every individual in it, is considered poor. The poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated annually for inflation with the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition counts money income before taxes and excludes capital gains and noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).

Income sources

Retirement benefits. Include Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement income, government employee pensions, and private pensions or annuities.

Social Security. Includes retired-worker benefits, dependents' or survivor benefits, disability benefits, and transitionally insured benefits.

Government employee pensions. Include payments from federal (civil service), military, state or local governments.

Private pensions or annuities include payments from: companies or unions; annuities or paid-up insurance policies; and regular payments from individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Keogh, or 401(k) payments; or other retirement income. Nonregular (nonannuitized or lump-sum) withdrawals from IRA, Keogh, and 401(k) plans are not included as income.

Earnings. Include wages and salaries and self-employment. Wages and salaries is defined as total money earnings received for work performed as an employee during the income year. It includes wages, salary, Armed Forces pay, commissions, tips, piece-rate payments, and cash bonuses earned, before deductions are made for taxes, bonds, pensions, union dues, and so forth. Earnings for self-employed persons in incorporated businesses are considered wage and salary. Self-employment is the combined income from farm and nonfarm self-employment.

Asset income. Includes income from interest, dividends, rent, royalties, and estates and trusts. Interest includes payments people received (or have credited to their accounts) from bonds, treasury notes, IRAs, certificates of deposit, interest-bearing savings and checking accounts, and all other investments that pay interest. Dividends include income from stock holdings and mutual fund shares. The CPS does not include capital gains from the sale of stock holdings as income. Rents, royalties, and estates and trusts includes net income from the rental of a house, store, or other property, receipts from boarders or lodgers, net royalty income, and periodic payments from estate or trust funds.

Public Assistance. Includes Supplemental Security Income and other monetary public assistance programs. Noncash benefits are not included.

Other income is total income minus retirement benefits, earnings, income from assets, and public assistance. Some income sources represented in this category include worker's compensation, unemployment benefits, alimony, child support, and financial assistance from friends and relatives.

Notes

1 For more information, consult the Glossary for this report.

Tables

Shares of Aggregate Income for Aged Units Table 10.1 Percentage of aggregate income of aged units from specified source, by age, 2008
Source of income Aged 55–61 Aged 62–64 Aged 65 or older
Total 65–69 70–74 75–79 80 or older
Total percent 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Percentage of income from—
Earnings 84.9 70.4 29.7 46.6 30.3 15.3 9.3
Retirement benefits 7.4 20.3 54.9 40.6 54.9 66.0 72.6
Social Security 2.4 9.0 36.5 25.4 36.8 44.5 50.6
Railroad Retirement 0 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.5
Government employee pensions 2.8 6.2 8.8 7.3 8.6 10.6 10.3
Private pensions or annuities 2.2 4.9 9.4 7.8 9.4 10.7 11.2
Income from assets 5.0 6.7 12.7 10.6 12.3 15.7 14.6
Cash public assistance 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.4 0.7 0.6 0.7
Other 2.1 2.1 2.1 1.7 1.8 2.4 2.8
Number (thousands) 18,289 5,817 28,921 8,333 6,215 5,700 8,673
 
Shares of Aggregate Income for Aged Units Table 10.2 Percentage of aggregate income of aged units from specified source, by marital status and age, 2008
Source of income Married couples Nonmarried persons
Aged 55–61 Aged 62–64 Aged 65 or older Aged 55–61 Aged 62–64 65 or older
Total 65–69 70–74 75–79 80 or older Total 65–69 70–74 75–79 80 or older
Total percent 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Percentage of income from—
Earnings 86.6 73.1 35.9 50.0 34.2 19.0 13.6 79.5 61.9 18.8 37.3 21.9 10.0 5.8
Retirement benefits 6.5 18.2 49.2 37.6 51.4 61.8 67.8 10.4 26.8 65.0 49.1 62.4 71.9 76.5
Social Security 1.8 7.2 31.3 22.6 33.4 40.7 44.8 4.3 14.5 45.6 32.9 43.9 49.9 55.3
Railroad Retirement 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.3 0 0 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.5 0.7
Government employee pensions 2.6 5.7 8.3 6.9 8.3 10.5 10.1 3.3 7.9 9.6 8.4 9.1 10.7 10.4
Private pensions or annuities 2.0 5.1 9.4 7.9 9.5 10.5 12.6 2.8 4.4 9.3 7.5 9.1 10.8 10.1
Income from assets 4.9 6.5 12.6 10.5 12.2 16.7 15.4 5.4 7.4 12.9 10.9 12.4 14.3 14.0
Cash public assistance 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.5 0.3 0.5 1.6 1.1 1.0 0.9 1.2 1.1 1.0
Other 1.7 1.9 1.9 1.7 1.6 2.3 2.7 3.1 2.9 2.3 1.8 2.0 2.6 2.8
Number (thousands) 9,992 3,180 11,844 4,381 2,925 2,230 2,308 8,297 2,637 17,077 3,952 3,290 3,471 6,364
 
Shares of Aggregate Income for Aged Units Table 10.3 Percentage of aggregate income of aged units from specified source, by beneficiary status, marital status, and age, 2008
Source of income Beneficiary units Nonbeneficiary units
All units Married couples Nonmarried persons All units Married couples Nonmarried persons
55–61 62–64 65 or older 55–61 62–64 65 or older 55–61 62–64 65 or older 55–61 62–64 65 or older 55–61 62–64 65 or older 55–61 62–64 65 or older
Total percent 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Percentage of income from—
Earnings 42.6 39.0 22.8 52.2 45.9 28.4 14.2 16.6 13.3 88.0 83.9 73.0 89.1 85.0 80.5 84.7 80.4 57.8
Retirement benefits 45.4 48.8 61.5 36.5 42.2 55.9 71.4 70.2 70.9 4.6 8.1 14.1 4.3 7.7 9.4 5.6 9.0 23.5
Social Security 34.7 29.9 42.4 26.5 23.8 36.7 58.8 50.0 52.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Railroad Retirement 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 1.6 0 0.3 1.0 0 0 2.7
Government employee pensions 4.9 8.7 8.8 4.8 8.3 8.7 5.2 10.3 8.8 2.6 5.1 8.7 2.5 4.6 5.4 3.1 6.9 15.3
Private pensions or annuities 5.7 10.0 10.3 5.1 10.1 10.5 7.4 9.9 9.8 1.9 2.7 3.8 1.7 2.9 3.0 2.5 2.1 5.6
Income from assets 4.5 8.5 13.4 4.4 8.6 13.5 4.8 8.2 13.2 5.1 5.9 8.6 5.0 5.5 7.6 5.4 7.0 10.6
Cash public assistance 1.0 0.4 0.2 0.6 0.3 0.1 2.2 0.9 0.4 0.6 0.6 2.6 0.3 0.3 1.3 1.5 1.2 5.3
Other 6.5 3.3 2.1 6.2 3.0 2.1 7.3 4.1 2.3 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.4 1.4 1.2 2.8 2.4 2.7
Number (thousands) 2,246 2,482 25,210 1,167 1,326 10,474 1,079 1,156 14,735 16,043 3,335 3,712 8,825 1,854 1,370 7,218 1,481 2,342
 
Shares of Aggregate Income for Units 65 or Older Table 10.4 Percentage of aggregate income of aged units from specified source, by race, Hispanic origin, and marital status, 2008
Source of income White alone Black alone Asian alone Hispanic origin
All units Married couples Nonmarried persons All units Married couples Nonmarried persons All units Married couples Nonmarried persons All units Married couples Nonmarried persons
Total percent 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Percentage of income from—
Earnings 29.2 35.1 18.5 29.3 37.0 22.5 45.6 54.8 18.6 32.9 40.2 22.0
Retirement benefits 54.9 49.4 64.8 61.8 54.4 68.4 40.9 35.1 58.3 54.9 49.1 63.6
Social Security 36.4 31.4 45.3 41.4 33.6 48.4 29.9 24.4 46.2 42.7 35.3 53.8
Railroad Retirement 0.3 0.2 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.2 0 0 0 0.2 0.2 0.2
Government employee pensions 8.8 8.3 9.5 10.4 9.9 10.9 5.6 4.8 7.9 5.7 6.9 3.9
Private pensions or annuities 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.8 10.7 9.0 5.4 5.8 4.3 6.3 6.8 5.7
Income from assets 13.5 13.3 13.8 4.8 5.6 4.1 9.2 7.6 14.1 6.7 6.6 6.8
Cash public assistance 0.4 0.3 0.7 1.5 0.3 2.4 2.9 1.7 6.6 2.5 1.2 4.5
Other 2.0 1.9 2.3 2.7 2.8 2.5 1.3 0.9 2.5 3.0 2.9 3.2
Number (thousands) 24,746 10,549 14,197 2,770 702 2,068 968 440 528 2,123 778 1,345
 
Shares of Aggregate Income for Units 65 or Older Table 10.5 Percentage of aggregate income of aged units from specified source, by marital status and quintile of total money income, 2008
Source of income All units Married couples Nonmarried persons
First Second Third Fourth Fifth First Second Third Fourth Fifth First Second Third Fourth Fifth
Total percent 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Percentage of income from—
Earnings 1.8 3.9 9.8 19.4 43.7 6.8 9.8 18.8 31.8 50.7 0.8 1.9 4.7 11.3 30.7
Retirement benefits 86.6 89.4 80.8 69.1 36.6 85.7 83.5 72.1 55.9 29.3 84.2 91.8 88.3 76.2 47.1
Social Security 83.2 81.8 64.4 43.6 17.9 81.0 70.8 48.6 31.1 13.8 80.6 87.9 78.1 52.9 22.4
Railroad Retirement 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.2 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.8 0.2
Government employee pensions 1.1 2.5 5.9 11.7 9.7 1.4 4.1 8.8 11.5 8.2 1.4 1.3 3.4 9.3 13.8
Private pensions or annuities 1.8 4.5 9.9 13.5 8.9 3.0 8.1 14.4 13.1 7.3 1.9 2.3 6.2 13.2 10.6
Income from assets 2.1 3.4 6.5 8.4 17.8 2.7 4.2 6.3 9.6 18.4 2.0 2.0 4.5 9.2 19.7
Cash public assistance 8.5 1.7 0.5 0.1 0.1 3.9 0.4 0.2 0.2 0 11.7 3.0 0.7 0.3 0
Other 1.1 1.7 2.3 2.9 1.8 0.9 2.1 2.5 2.6 1.6 1.3 1.3 1.8 3.0 2.5
Number (thousands) 5,784 5,783 5,785 5,783 5,786 2,368 2,369 2,369 2,369 2,370 3,413 3,418 3,415 3,416 3,416
NOTE: Quintile limits are $12,082, $19,877, $31,303, and $55,889 for all units; $23,637, $35,794, $53,180, and $86,988 for married couples; and $9,929, $14,265, $20,187, and $32,937 for nonmarried persons.