Elder Index shows millions of American seniors can’t afford basic living costs

A recent report from researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Boston found that rising inflation has made it difficult for millions of elderly Americans to afford basic needs. 

The report published in the university’s Elder Index states that half of older women as well as 45% of older men who live alone are classified as living under federal poverty standards.

The index accounts for health care, food, housing and transportation costs. 

In 2020, the index found that 2 million senior couples were considered "financially insecure" based on their incomes compared with the cost of living. 

Despite these alarming findings, the cost of living isn’t going down.

Inflation surged in June and workers' average wages accelerated in the spring — signs that Americans won't likely feel any relief from rising prices anytime soon and that the Federal Reserve will feel compelled to raise borrowing costs further.

An inflation gauge closely tracked by the Fed jumped 6.8% in June from a year ago, the government said Friday, the biggest such jump in four decades. Much of the increase was driven by energy and food.

On a month-to-month basis, too, prices surged 1% in June, the biggest such rise since 2005. Even excluding the volatile food and energy categories, prices climbed 0.6% from May to June.

Employees’ wages, excluding government workers, jumped 1.6% in the April-June quarter, matching a record high reached last fall. Higher wages tend to fuel inflation if companies pass their higher labor costs on to their customers, as they often do.

Friday’s figures underscored the persistence of the inflation that is eroding Americans’ purchasing power, dimming their confidence in the economy and threatening Democrats in Congress in the run-up to the November midterm elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.