Data from the Census Bureau shows that senior citizens saw some of the biggest income gains in decades at a time when every other age group is losing ground in the recession.
According to the data, the 31 million households headed by people 65 and older saw their median income rise by a healthy 5.8% in 2009 after inflation and 7.1% since the recession began in December 2007.
Every other age group has suffered income losses of at least 4% during the recession, the data shows.
Seniors got a lift last year from a $250-per-person Social Security bonus included in the federal stimulus program. That helped boost income more than any year since 1973 and led to seniors out-earning 15-to-24-year-olds for the first time.
The proportion of America’s seniors living in poverty − which is determined by income and family size, for a single person, being poor means making about $11,000 or less a year − dropped last year to just under 9%, a hopeful statistic in an otherwise dismal report on poverty released last week.