Aging in America
The population in the United States aged 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years (Woodside & McClam, pg. 82). This change in population will present challenges for human service providers, particularly when it comes to employment issues and poverty. One of the major challenges in America today is the ability to gainfully employ those who are willing and able to work. This goal of employment is further made difficult when society needlessly labels a certain group as unemployable. One such group is the older worker. With unemployment rates at an all time high, older Americans are finding it increasingly more difficult to secure employment. And amid a recession, others with outdated skills or relatively high salaries are finding it increasingly difficult to get or keep desirable jobs. It is estimated that 25% of the Boomers in America will not be able to find employment for one reason or another. That amounts to about 19.5 million people, about the population of New York state. Some of those who can’t find work will apply for disability, which, ironically, could heavily tax the Social Security system. Others will have to accept a far lower standard of living in retirement than they had imagined. This, coupled with the inability to find work, will force many elderly Americans to live in poverty. Currently 3.4 million seniors age 65 and older live below the poverty line (The Center for American Progress, 2014). Millions more are barely making ends meet just above the poverty line. The elderly poverty rate is even higher for households of color than white households. Social security plays a vital role in raising the poverty line in households of color. Elderly people of color are less likely than whites to receive private retirement benefits and are even less likely to have asset income, including interest on bank accounts. Poverty also does not affect senior men and women equally as women are more likely to...
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