Index details cost of growing old in America

What is the true cost of growing older in America?

Knowing the answer to that question, and what resources are needed to prepare for the future, is a challenge faced by researchers, advocates, policymakers, social service providers, and individuals and families alike.

The Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index) offers a tool to increase this understanding. The  Elder Index present local expenses, savings requirements, and what incomes are needed to achieve economic security by family type, and at the city, county, and state levels.

About the Elder Index and how to use it

The Elder Index was developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston with Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), and is currently maintained through a partnership between the Gerontology Institute and the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The Elder Index is a measure of the income that older adults need to meet their basic needs and age in place with dignity. The Elder Index is specific to household size, location, housing, and health status. It includes the cost of:

    Housing
    Health care
    Transportation
    Food
    Miscellaneous essentials

Anyone can use the database to:

    Find out how much is needed to be economically secure, by location and family type
    Compare expenses across locations and family types
    Download national, state, county and city index data
    Access additional information on elder economic security

Use the Index

The Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging within UMass Boston’s Gerontology Institute has published Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans Insecurity in the States 2016, which summarizes what the Elder Index looks like across the states.


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