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October 22, 2007
Older African Americans Rely Heavily on Social Security for Retirement Income

Nearly 80 percent of African Americans who are age 65 and older that receive Social Security depend on it for 50 percent or more of their income, according to a new report by AARP's Public Policy Institute.

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While the financial security of persons over 65 has improved collectively over the last 30-plus years, this improvement does not apply to all minority groups, including African Americans.

In 2005, while older African Americans accounted for 8.4 percent of the over-65 population, they accounted for 19.3 percent of those over 65 living in poverty. For nearly half (44.3 percent) of older African Americans, Social Security is their sole source of income.

"Nearly 75 million working Americans do not have a way to save or plan for their retirement," says H. Carl McCall, the volunteer chair of the AARP New York's Economic Security Campaign. "While we, as a country, have made great progress over the last several decades to educate individuals about how to plan for retirement, new steps must be taken to increase the financial security of all Americans as we get older. Solutions are on the table--including ways to increase financial literacy and opportunities to save, including automating 401(k) accounts and instituting Auto IRA accounts for those without any way to save."

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