In 1999, almost 12 % (29,511) of the county's older adults 65 years old and over had income below poverty level. Poverty was more prevalent among those who were female, minority, and had disability, indicating greater financial risk among those groups of older adults.
Ø Poverty by Age Group: Poverty rate among those 75 years and over was a little higher than those 65 to 74 years old, accounting about 14% and 11% of each age group, respectively.
Ø Poverty by Gender: Poverty was more prevalent among female older adults than their male counterpart: poverty rate was about 14% for female and 10% for male older adults in 1999.
Ø Poverty by Race/Ethnicity: Poverty was most prevalent among African-American older adults (24%), followed by Asian (20%), Hispanic (18%), and White older adults (8%).
Disability and Poverty
Ø About 16% of Harris County older adults 65 years old and older with disability had income below poverty level in 1999, indicating greater financial difficulty among those who are in need most.
Ø The number of female older adults 65 years and older with disability in poverty was more than double that of male older adults: 11,766 female 65 years and older had income below poverty level in 1999, compared to 5,141 male.
Charts & Graphs
Poverty Status of Harris County Adults 65+ in 1999 by Race and Ethnicity
Poverty Status of Harris County Adults 65+ in 1999 by Age and Gender
Poverty Status of Harris County Adults 65+ with Disability by Gender
Many thanks to St. Luke's Episcopal Charities for providing the following maps that help tell the story of older adults living in Harris County.
Percent of People Over Age 65 Living in Poverty (pdf)
The weighted average poverty threshold for a single older person age 65 or older was $8,259 in census 2000 (www.census.gov ). The income sources for people in lowest level of poverty are generally largely dependent on Social Security and public assistance programs. Living in poverty constitutes a serious risk factor for elders and correlates with increased morbidity and mortality. The highest concentration of elders in poverty, those that comprise 20-43 percent of the population within the zip code, are found in a characteristic pattern that corresponds with the location of minority neighborhoods in Houston and Harris County. A large area east, north and south of downtown Houston contain these neighborhoods and extends south to the edge of the County and north and northeast within Beltway 8.
Percent of People Over Age 65 Who Spend More Than 30% of Their Income on Housing (pdf)
This indicator is likely to relate to poverty in that many elders are likely to live on fixed incomes. The highest concentrations of elders in this category are 35-60 percent of the population of the zip code in which they live and appear to be scattered over the county. Large concentrations of people in this category are found just north Interstate 10 between Beltway 8 and the county boundary, and in the northeast edge of the county on both sides of Highway 290, as well as in the older neighborhoods of Houston.