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The Takeaway: Three-Quarters of Minority Retirees Struggling Financially

The majority of Asian, African American and Hispanic retirees in the United States struggle to cover basic living expenses, according to new research from the nonprofit Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW). “With many people of color working in low wage jobs, they are unable to save for retirement, leading to overwhelming numbers of older African American, Hispanic or Asian Americans who are not able to cover their most basic expenses as they age,” Donna Addkison, the president and CEO of WOW, told Reuters. A lifetime of lower-wage jobs also means smaller Social Security benefits in retirement.

The Elder Economic Security Index estimates that a single, retired adult needs between $19,000 to $25,000 a year to cover the costs of living, and couples need between $29,000 and $39,000. Only about a quarter of older Asian, African American and Hispanic adults in the U.S. have retirement incomes within those ranges, according to WOW’s analysis of Census data.

“Basic expenses” include things like housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care and medications. Overall, 52 percent of retiree households report incomes considered inadequate to cover these costs. For Asian retirees, the number rises to 65 percent; 74 percent of African American retirees and 76 percent of Hispanics fall below the secure income range.

For single retirees, the picture is even more grim, with only 17 percent of single Hispanic retirees, 21 percent of single black retirees and 28 percent of single Asian retirees reporting incomes considered sufficient to cover basic needs.

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