Thursday, May 27, 2010

Census Bureau: Seventy-three men for every 100 women, 65 and over

There are many reasons why women should be interested in U.S. Census Bureau data. The bureau's Web site offers up information by age group about who we are, where we live, whether we're married, divorced or widowed. The numbers speak for themselves: women outlive men, spend less time in the work force over their work lives and generally earn less money. For all these reasons women must plan carefully for retirement so they can pay for basic living expenses in their old age. Here's what the Census Bureau says:

- There are 21.9 million women aged 65 and older in the U.S. as compared to 16 million men in 2008.
- Among women 65 years and over, the proportion who were widowed was 44.9 percent, while 41.8 percent were married and living with their spouse.
- By contrast only 14 percent of men in this age group were widowed, while 73.6 percent were married and living with their spouse, says the Census Bureau.
- In 2008, there were 73 men for ever 100 women in the 65 to 74 age group..
- By age 85, there were 48 men for every 100 women.
- More women live alone. An estimated 52.9 percent of American women 75 years of age and older were living alone while only 22.3 percent of men were on their own.
- In the age group 65 to 74 the ratios are similar with 31.2 percent of women living alone as compared to 13.9 percent of men.
Women live longer, but here's the disturbing part: The poverty rate among women who are 65 and older is an alarming 20 percent, four times that of married couples the same age, according to bureau data. Why is that? The median earnings for women 25 years and over who worked full-time, year-round on average are 77.1 percent of earnings pulled in my men. In 2007, the median (half more, half less) annual earnings for men was $44,627 while women were earning a median annual wage of $34,398. Over the long term that means women see less money go into retirement accounts and receive less money from employers in matching funds. So we live longer, will spend as much as 35 percent of our lives living alone, but likely will have less money to support ourselves. Good planning, however, can help prevent personal tragedy from the death of a spouse, divorce or other loss from becoming a financial disaster.
The Heinz Family Philanthropies offers an online Web site at where women can find in-depth and useful information about "How to Make Financial Plans for Unexpected Events." The research stems from the personal tragedy of Teresa Heinz of the Heinz food fortune who lost her first husband in a plane crash.
Listed below are Web sites available to help women plan for their long-term financial future.
Heinz Family Philanthropies at
Women's Institute for a Secure Retirementat at
Women's Insitute for Financial Education at

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