Single, and Likelier to Need Social Security

Unmarried people living alone, both women and men, are likelier to rely on Social Security to stay out of poverty than those living with families.

Since the majority of older women are single, while the majority of older men are married, Social Security plays a particularly important role in lifting unmarried women out of poverty, according to the study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

Research by IWPR indicates Social Security lifts 14.8 million older Americans (age 65 and older), including more than six million unmarried women and men living alone, out of poverty. More whites (12 million) than minorities (2.2 million) rely on Social Security to lift them out of poverty. Seventy-six percent of women age 75 and older rely on Social Security for more than half their income, compared with 60% of those ages 65 to 74 (for men, 60% and 46%, respectively).

The study analyzed data from the 2012 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which was collected jointly by the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The findings reported in the study refer to calendar year 2011.

A downloadable copy of the study can be found here.