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The Economic Resources of the Elderly: A Comprehensive Income Approach

Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP1989-08 or SIPP-WP-91
Stephen Crystal and Dennis Shea
Component ID: #ti1214493082

Abstract

Estimating the elderly's relative economic well-being is of considerable policy importance, but poses several technical problems. In this article a methodology for such comparison is proposed and results from its application are presented. We argue that intergenerational comparisons of Census income data need to take account of household size, underreporting of unearned income in Census data, and the annuitized value of assets. When household income is adjusted for these factors, the elderly's economic well-being averages 124 percent of the well-being of persons age 64 and under and 183 percent of the figure for children under age 6. Economic inequality is found to be greater among the elderly than at any other age.

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