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Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women

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  • Timothy M. Smeeding
  • Susanna Sandstrom

Abstract

Over the past 40 years, great strides have been made in reducing poverty among the elderly in most rich countries. Pensioner poverty, however, has not been eradicated, especially in the Anglo-speaking nations. Poverty rates among older women are much higher than those for older men and much higher in the United States compared to other nations. In general, poverty rates rise with both age and changes in living arrangements, though living alone has a greater effect for women. Poverty rates among older women are highest among the divorced, widowed, and never married (all of which are also expected to rise significantly over the next decades). The challenge is to design retirement benefit systems that guarantee a minimum standard of living for all elderly women, while also preserving incentives for self financed retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy M. Smeeding & Susanna Sandstrom, 2004. "Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2004-29, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2004-29
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    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/poverty-and-income-maintenance-in-old-age-a-cross-national-view-of-low-income-older-women/
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    Cited by:

    1. Evandrou, Maria & Falkingham, Jane & Sefton, Tom, 2009. "The relationship between women’s work histories and incomes in later life in the UK, US and West Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43863, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Evandrou, Maria & Falkingham, Jane & Sefton, Tom, 2009. "The relationship between women's work histories and incomes in later life in the UK, US and West Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28243, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Estelle James & Alejandra Cox Edwards & Rebeca Wong, 2012. "The Gender Impact of Pension Reform," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13046, The World Bank.

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