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Poverty Among Seniors: An Updated Analysis of National and State Level Poverty Rates Under the Official and Supplemental Poverty Measures

Methodology

This analysis uses the 2012-2014 Current Population Survey March Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) for the estimates of poverty under the official measure, and the recently-released Supplemental Poverty Measures (SPM) Public Use Research Files, which are derived from the CPS ASEC, for poverty estimates under the Supplemental Poverty Measure.1 The 2014 CPS ASEC was used for national and subgroup estimates. Data were pooled across three years for the calculation of estimates at the state level.   Standard errors were calculated using the replicate weights and a Fay’s adjustment. All reported statistics have a cell size of at least one hundred observations and a relative standard error below 30 percent.

The poverty rates described in this brief may differ from estimates reported elsewhere for a variety of reasons. One reason is because this analysis only includes individuals ages 65 and older. Poverty rates are higher among younger adults with disabilities on Medicare, which means that poverty rates are higher among the total Medicare population. The CPS ASEC also does not include older adults residing in institutions, such as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, who are more likely to have low incomes than those residing in the community. In addition, this analysis compares the incomes of family units to poverty thresholds, consistent with the approach defined by the official measure and the SPM (although each measure defines families somewhat differently). Relying on a unit of measurement other than family units could produce different poverty rates. For example, health insurance units tend to be smaller than family units, and poverty rates may be much higher when based on the former. Finally, the Census Bureau poverty thresholds analyzed in this brief are different from the Health and Human Services (HHS) “poverty guidelines” (sometimes referred to as the “federal poverty level”) that are used to determine income eligibility for certain programs.

Appendix Table 1: Percent of Older Adults With Incomes Below 100% and 200% of Poverty, by Selected Characteristics, 2013
State Below 100% of the poverty threshold Below 200% of the poverty threshold
Official measure SPM Difference* Official measure SPM Difference*
United States 10% 15% 5% 33% 45% 12%
AGE
65-69 8% 12% 3% 25% 36% 11%
70-79 9% 14% 5% 33% 45% 12%
80+ 12% 19% 8% 45% 57% 12%
GENDER
Men 7% 12% 5% 27% 39% 13%
Women 12% 17% 5% 38% 50% 12%
GENDER*AGE
Men age 65-69 7% 10% 3% 21% 32% 11%
Men age 70-79 7% 12% 5% 37% 49% 13%
Men age 80+ 6% 14% 8% 35% 50% 14%
Women age 65-69 10% 13% 3% 28% 40% 12%
Women age 70-79 11% 16% 5% 27% 40% 12%
Women age 80+ 15% 23% 8% 52% 62% 11%
RACE/ETHNICITY
White 7% 12% 5% 30% 41% 11%
Black 18% 22% 5% 48% 60% 11%
Hispanic 20% 28% 9% 51% 68% 17%
HEALTH STATUS
Fair/poor 14% 20% 7% 45% 58% 13%
Excellent/very good/good 8% 12% 5% 28% 40% 12%
NOTE: *All differences are statistically significant at the 95 percent confidence level. Differences may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Current Population Survey, 2014 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
Appendix Table 2: Percent of Older Adults With Incomes Below 100% and 200% of Poverty, by State, 2011-2013
State Below 100% of the poverty threshold Below 200% of the poverty threshold
Official measure SPM Difference Official measure SPM Difference
United States 10% 15% 5%* 33% 45% 12%*
Alabama 8% 11% 3% 38% 44% 7%
Alaska 7% 12% 5% 28% 43% 15%*
Arizona 11% 15% 5%* 34% 45% 10%*
Arkansas 11% 14% 3% 43% 48% 5%
California 10% 21% 11%* 33% 54% 21%*
Colorado 8% 13% 5%* 29% 42% 14%*
Connecticut 7% 14% 7%* 25% 47% 22%*
Delaware 7% 12% 5%* 29% 42% 12%*
DC 16% 25% 9%* 37% 57% 20%*
Florida 10% 18% 7%* 36% 52% 16%*
Georgia 8% 14% 6%* 34% 44% 10%*
Hawaii 8% 17% 9%* 27% 54% 27%*
Idaho 7% 12% 5%* 32% 40% 7%*
Illinois 9% 15% 6%* 31% 44% 13%*
Indiana 6% 13% 7%* 34% 44% 10%*
Iowa 6% 9% 2%* 32% 43% 10%*
Kansas 7% 11% 4%* 28% 38% 10%*
Kentucky 10% 13% 4% 42% 48% 6%
Louisiana 12% 18% 6%* 42% 51% 9%*
Maine 7% 9% 2% 31% 40% 9%*
Maryland 8% 16% 8%* 26% 47% 21%*
Massachusetts 8% 16% 9%* 30% 50% 20%*
Michigan 7% 10% 2% 30% 40% 10%*
Minnesota 7% 12% 5%* 29% 42% 13%*
Mississippi 12% 13% 1% 43% 48% 5%
Missouri 6% 9% 3% 32% 39% 7%*
Montana 7% 10% 3% 31% 40% 8%*
Nebraska 8% 11% 3%* 29% 41% 11%*
Nevada 9% 18% 9%* 35% 50% 15%*
New Hampshire 6% 14% 9%* 28% 46% 18%*
New Jersey 7% 15% 8%* 28% 46% 18%*
New Mexico 11% 14% 3% 34% 44% 11%*
New York 11% 16% 5%* 37% 51% 14%*
North Carolina 12% 16% 4%* 42% 52% 11%*
North Dakota 7% 10% 2% 30% 38% 8%*
Ohio 8% 11% 3%* 33% 43% 10%*
Oklahoma 7% 11% 3% 33% 38% 6%
Oregon 8% 13% 6%* 30% 44% 13%*
Pennsylvania 9% 14% 6%* 34% 44% 10%*
Rhode Island 8% 15% 7%* 34% 49% 14%*
South Carolina 14% 18% 4% 39% 46% 7%*
South Dakota 8% 9% 1% 30% 36% 7%*
Tennessee 12% 15% 3% 39% 47% 9%*
Texas 11% 16% 5%* 36% 47% 11%*
Utah 8% 13% 6%* 31% 42% 11%*
Vermont 7% 11% 4%* 30% 44% 14%*
Virginia 9% 15% 6%* 26% 42% 16%*
Washington 6% 11% 5%* 27% 40% 13%*
West Virginia 10% 12% 2% 38% 42% 4%
Wisconsin 5% 10% 4%* 29% 42% 13%*
Wyoming 7% 11% 4%* 29% 36% 7%
NOTE: SPM is Supplemental Poverty Measure. *Indicates statistical significance at the 95 percent confidence level.Differences shown may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Current Population Survey, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
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