|An Income Profile of Older Adult Householders in Southeast Michigan Version:March 26, 2010|
The older population is one of the most economically vulnerable populations in the United States for several reasons. Most are no longer in the workforce and must rely on fixed sources of income (e.g., pensions, Social Security benefits). While income sources may vary in response to shifting economic circumstances, many seniors in the current economic climate have few options to bring in additional sources of income to meet the burden of rising living expenses. Despite being a population covered by universal health insurance (Medicare), they still bear the brunt of many out-of-pocket expenses including prescription drug premiums, copays, and coverage gaps. Finally, the economic recession of the past couple of years has resulted in a sharp decline in property values as foreclosures have skyrocketed. For many older homeowners, this has meant a decline in the value of their largest asset and in some cases, that their mortgage exceeds the value of their home.
The economic challenges that seniors currently face are most apparent in Southeast Michigan, the epicenter of the recession. In this Seniors Count! report, we detail the income status of the aging population in the region. We also discuss the overall income of this population, sources of income, and how union pensions from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have kept a significant segment of this population financially afloat.