Trends in the Economic Status of the Elderly, 1976–2000

by Thomas Hungerford, Matthew Rassette, Howard Iams, and Melissa Koenig
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64 No. 3, 2001/2002
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Proportion of the elderly relying on Social Security for most of their income, 1976–2000 (in percent)
Year 50 percent or more of total income 90 percent or more of total income 100 percent of total income
1976 66 28 --
1978 66 26 16
1980 65 26 14
1982 65 27 15
1984 62 24 14
1986 62 26 15
1988 60 25 14
1990 59 24 13
1992 63 26 14
1994 66 30 16
1996 66 30 18
1998 63 30 18
2000 64 31 20
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Income of the Population 55 or Older, various years.
NOTE: -- = not available.
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Poverty rates of the elderly, 1976–2000 (in percent)
Year All Married
couples
Nonmarried
women
Whites Blacks Hispanics
1976 25 9 38 -- -- --
1980 25 9 39 23 52 --
1984 21 7 32 18 48 41
1988 19 6 31 16 46 39
1992 20 7 32 17 46 43
1996 17 5 28 15 38 42
2000 17 5 26 14 32 40
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Income of the Population 55 or Older, various years.
NOTE: -- = not available.
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Real median income of the elderly in dollars and as a percentage of income of the working-age population, 1976–2000 (in thousands of 2000 dollars)
Year All Married
couples
Nonmarried
women
Whites Blacks Hispanics
  Real median income of the elderly
1976 14,224 23,878 9,775 14,950 9,049 --
1980 14,566 25,120 9,676 15,506 8,485 --
1984 16,855 28,590 10,773 18,165 9,066 10,010
1988 17,719 29,556 10,997 19,093 9,175 10,577
1992 17,133 29,232 11,098 18,440 9,160 9,747
1996 17,669 30,669 11,505 18,607 10,590 9,717
2000 18,778 31,188 12,035 19,790 12,333 10,544
  Real median income of the elderly as a share of income of the working-age population
1976 51 86 35 54 32 --
1980 56 96 37 59 33 --
1984 63 107 40 68 34 37
1988 63 105 39 68 33 38
1992 61 104 39 66 33 35
1996 62 108 40 65 37 34
2000 58 97 37 62 38 33
SOURCE: Social Security Administration's analysis of March Current Population Survey, various years.
NOTE: -- = not available.
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Sources of income of the elderly, 1976–2000 (in percent)
Year Social
Security
Assets Pensions Earnings Public
assistance
  Percentage receiving income, by source
1976 89 56 31 25 11
1980 90 66 34 23 10
1984 91 68 38 21 9
1988 92 68 42 22 7
1992 92 67 45 20 7
1996 91 63 41 21 6
2000 90 59 41 22 5
  Share of aggregate income, by source
1976 39 18 16 23 2
1980 39 22 15 19 1
1984 38 28 15 16 1
1988 38 25 18 17 1
1992 40 21 20 17 1
1996 40 18 18 20 1
2000 38 18 18 23 1
SOURCE: Social Security Administration's analysis of March Current Population Survey, various years.