The National Council on Aging is warning that while the financial hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the economic security of all older adults, it will disproportionately hurt Hispanics over age 60.
That is the conclusion of a recently published issue brief from NCOA and the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston that looks at historical data from the 2008 recession and applies those findings to today’s economic and public health crisis.
“All groups over age 60 will experience significant decreases in total net wealth, but without question, the Hispanic population will experience the most dramatic declines,” said Dr. Susan Silberman, NCOA senior director of research and evaluation.
“Hispanic older adults have lower and relatively non-growing household incomes, making them particularly vulnerable and most likely to have the largest proportion of individuals fall below the poverty line.”
Out-of-pocket expenses are also a factor, the data show. While out-of-pocket medical expenses were highest for non-Hispanic whites during the period 2006–2010, these costs grew the most for Hispanics at 33% compared to just 10% for non-Hispanic whites and 11% for African Americans.
Hispanics over age 60 also are between 1.1 and 1.3 times more likely to have multiple chronic conditions, 1.4 to 2.1 times more likely to have depression, and roughly six times more likely to have cognitive impairment than the other racial/ethnic groups.
“This analysis underscores the importance of looking beyond simple averages to identify those groups who may be particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Silberman said.
“It is critically important to maintain a strong social safety net and undertake policies that focus on narrowing financial disparities across racial and ethnic lines.”
The full issue brief, Potential Financial Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Minority Older Adults, is available online at www.ncoa.org, along with its companion issue brief, Economic Insecurity for Older Adults in the Presence of the COVID-19 Pandemic.