As local and national economies prove resilient, senior poverty is climbing

Seattle’s tech-focused job market and economy is proving very resilient, but area seniors are seeing few benefits, which is also reflected in national data

Washington state – home to major tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft – has seen its economy grow in affluence over the past decade. However, the region’s seniors are seeing very few benefits as the state’s poverty rate for those at or over the age of 65 increases, a trend that extends nationally.

This is according to regional and national data from the U.S. Census Bureau released in September. In Washington, seniors have been specifically left behind, according to an analysis of the data by the Seattle Times.

“The number of Washingtonians older than 65 living in poverty has climbed to more than 9%, jumping by 36,500 residents since 2018 to nearly 120,000,” the report said. “In those five years, the child poverty rate declined by 1 percentage point to 11.4%.”

The Census Bureau uses a more complex formula to determine such rates, moving away from relying on “poverty lines” or levels in recent years. Now, the calculation uses information including family size, age and living expenses.

“Between 2018 and 2022, the growth of elder poverty outpaced the decline in child poverty, raising the overall share of old and young Washingtonians living in poverty compared with five years ago,” according to the report.

In 2018, Washington state ranked in the top 10 for states with the lowest share of seniors poverty. That is no longer the case, but the state still maintains one of the lowest shares of citizens living in poverty when compared nationally, the Times reported.

A recent report from the New York Times also profiled an increasing rate of senior poverty nationally, saying that many older Americans are not taking advantage of ongoing aid programs that are still available after many other COVID-19 relief programs have expired.

“Using the supplemental poverty measure, which economists have found is a more accurate reflection of income and spending than the official poverty rate, the proportion of people over age 65 living in poverty climbed from a modern low of 9.5 percent in 2020 to 10.7 percent in 2021,” the Times reported.

In 2022, the senior poverty figure reached 14.1% representing more than 8 million older Americans, the report revealed.

Defining poverty levels in different parts of the country requires taking regional and demographic information into account.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Boston created a metric called the “Elder Index,” which takes these factors into account to determine what poverty looks like on a regional basis. Its website includes tools to measure senior poverty in different U.S. localities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular Articles

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please