Latino Elderly among the Hidden Poor


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According to a new report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Latino elders in California are more likely than other populations to be among the “hidden poor.”

Single Latino elders and elders caring for adult children experience economic insecurity at higher levels, even if they aren’t near the federal poverty line. The study describes the “hidden poor” as those who live in the gap between the federal poverty level and the Elder Index’s poverty measure.

“Many of our older adults are forced to choose between eating, taking their medications or paying rent,” said Imelda Padilla-Frausto, a UCLA graduate student researcher and lead author the study.

The national federal poverty level estimates that a single, elderly adult should be able to live on an income of $10,890 a year; the Elder Index estimates that California’s elderly require $23,364 a year to live on.

The Index says that elderly couples with adult children living with them are six times more likely to qualify as being part of the hidden poor.  Grandparents raising grandchildren are also members of the hidden poor.

“Older adults raising grandchildren or housing adult children have taken on more financial burdens with limited earning capacity and are living right on the edge of a cliff,” said Steven P. Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and co-author of the study. “They have few options, and one unexpected expense can put them right over.”

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