Older women and poverty transition: Consequences of income source changes from widowhood

Martie Gillen, Hyungsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Older single women are disproportionately vulnerable to poverty. Using data from the 2002 and 2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study of 5,799 women age 65 or older, this study investigated the effect of change in income sources by recent spousal loss on poverty transition. The focus is on (a) the effect of widowhood on income source change and (b) how such change affects poverty transition of recently widowed older women. Findings indicate that widowhood greatly decreases income from every source. Specifically, a $10 increase in social security benefits decreased the probability of poverty transition for recently widowed older women by 67.2%. These findings call for reconsidering social security survivor benefit rules and women's education with regard to financial security in retirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-341
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Income source
  • Older women
  • Poverty transition
  • Widowhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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