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How Many Struggle to Get By in Retirement?


  • Barbara A. Butrica
  • Dan Murphy
  • Sheila R. Zedlewski


The official poverty measure in the United States fails to reflect modern day economic resources and spending needs. The official measure is based only on cash income and does not include in-kind transfers, capital gains and losses, taxes, out-of-pocket health spending, the value of owner-occupied housing, or the potential income from financial assets. Also, the official poverty thresholds that define minimal needs, set back in 1963 and updated to changes in the CPI, do not capture current spending patterns. These shortcomings especially pertain to adults age 65 and older because their resources, needs, and health expenses differ most dramatically from the assumptions reflected in the official measure.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara A. Butrica & Dan Murphy & Sheila R. Zedlewski, 2007. "How Many Struggle to Get By in Retirement?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-27, Center for Retirement Research, revised 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2007-27

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian E. Weller, 2009. "Did Retirees Save Enough to Compensate for the Increase in Individual Risk Exposure?," Working Papers wp206, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Jan Mutchler & Yao-Chi Shih & Jiyoung Lyu & Ellen Bruce & Alison Gottlieb, 2015. "The Elder Economic Security Standard Index™: A New Indicator for Evaluating Economic Security in Later Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 97-116, January.

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