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Poverty and Senior Citizens

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The available statistics on poverty among the senior citizens points out a rather unimpressive situation in the American society, particularly among the senior citizens (Uche 23). This paper will discuss poverty and senior citizens in the United States. In particular, it will discuss why poverty among the senior citizens in the United States is so bad. It will also discuss how this situation happened and if it should have happened, and whether the government is to blame for this particular situation. Poverty among the senior citizens in the United States is so bad especially when compared to other countries such as Canada. A survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows that poverty rates among the senior citizens aged between 65 and 74 years increased from 7.9 percent in 2005 to 9.4 percent in 2009 (Banerjee 11). The survey further points out that the increase in the poverty rate was even steeper among the senior citizens aged between 75 and 84 years over the same period. from 7.6 to 10.7 percent. The survey also found out that the oldest retirees are the people who are most likely to live in poverty with the estimates standing at 14.6 percent in 2009. Available data show that older Americans are falling into poverty as they age. … So, how did this very bad situation of poverty among senior citizens in the United States happen? Several studies have found out that the biggest driver of poverty among the senior citizens across the world and particularly in the United States is failing health (Rank and James 338). Most retirees tend to suffer acute health conditions such as heart problems, stroke, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, psychological problems, and lung diseases among others. Those who live below the poverty line tend to suffer more compared to those who live above the poverty line. The other biggest driver of poverty among senior citizens in the United States is the high medical costs (Uche 32). Medical expenditures for the senior citizens increase as they grow older. The rising medical expenses in the country have complicated this situation over the past decade. Many of them have to move to nursing homes, which are very expensive. Living in the nursing homes tends to affect the old people as they lose their assets and income very quickly because of diminished control (Banerjee 13). The increase in the number of senior citizens living in poverty in the United States has also been attributed to the reducing assets and income especially after retirement. Majority of the senior citizens spend down their retirement savings very fast, especially in the period of recessions (Uche 56). It has been found out that as people age, their personal pension and savings accounts are depleted. Besides, the rising poverty rate among this category of people has been attributed to the two economic recessions that happened in the last decade. It is expected that as the economy slows down poverty rates increases, and when the economy does better the poverty rates go down (Rank and