Women and Retirement Security

Selections from

Women and Retirement Security

A Report Prepared by the National Economic Council

Interagency Working Group on Social Security

Acrobat file of report is available at


Social Security Is Particularly Important for Elderly Women

For Many Elderly Women, Social Security Is Their Only Source of Income. For 25

percent of unmarried women (widowed, divorced, separated, never married), Social

Security is their only source of income. Social Security is the only source of income for 9

percent of married couples and 20 percent of unmarried men.

Excluding Social Security Benefits, the Poverty Rate among Elderly Women Would Be More Than 50 Percent. In 1997, the poverty rate among elderly women was 13.1 percent. Without Social Security benefits it would have been 52.2 percent. For elderly
widows the poverty rate was 18.0 percent; without Social Security benefits it would have

been 60.6 percent. (For elderly men the rate is 7.0 percent, without Social Security it

would be 40.7 percent.)

Home page for retirement issues