When underlining the economic costs of the pandemic for older Americans, some groups will be hit harder than others.
Hispanic older adults could experience significant declines, exacerbating economic disparities that have existed during most of their working years.
Their lower and relatively non-growing household income coupled with higher homeownership rates than African Americans, make them particularly vulnerable.
NCOA analysis shows Hispanic older population bearing brunt of recession
Media Relations Manager
Arlington, VA (May 21, 2020) – The National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, is warning that while the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the economic security of all older adults, it will disproportionately hurt Hispanics over age 60.
That is the sobering conclusion of a recently published issue brief from NCOA and the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston that looks at historical data from the 2008 recession and applies those findings to today’s economic and public health crisis.
“All groups over age 60 will experience significant decreases in total net wealth, but without question, the Hispanic population will experience the most dramatic declines,” said Dr. Susan Silberman, NCOA Senior Director, Research & Evaluation. “Hispanic older adults have lower and relatively non-growing household incomes, making them particularly vulnerable and most likely to have the largest proportion of individuals fall below the poverty line.”
“Hispanic older adults have lower and relatively non-growing household incomes, making them particularly vulnerable and most likely to have the largest proportion of individuals fall below the poverty line.”
Out-of-pocket expenses are also a factor, the data show. While out-of-pocket medical expenses were highest for Non-Hispanic Whites during the period 2006 to 2010, these costs grew the most for Hispanics at 33 percent compared to just 10 percent for Non-Hispanic Whites and 11 percent for African Americans. Hispanics over age 60 also are between 1.1 and 1.3 times more likely to have multiple chronic conditions, 1.4 to 2.1 times more likely to have depression, and roughly six times more likely to have cognitive impairment than the other racial/ethnic groups.
“This analysis underscores the importance of looking beyond simple averages to identify those groups who may be particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Silberman said. “It is critically important to maintain a strong social safety net and undertake policies that focus on narrowing financial disparities across racial and ethnic lines.”
The full issue brief, Potential Financial Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Minority Older Adults, is available online, along with its companion issue brief Economic Insecurity for Older Adults in the Presence of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or zip code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.