Almost half of single women over the age of 65 face the real crisis of outliving their financial resources. Most have very limited resources and are forced to make daily trade- offs between paying bills, forgoing home maintenance or medical needs. New research shows that economic insecurity among single senior women is on the rise. Between 2004 and 2008—even before the full impact of the Great Recession had been felt—economic insecurity among this population subgroup increased by one-third, from 35 percent to 47 percent.

While economic insecurity is steadily increasing among all seniors —rising by 2 million households between 2004 and 2008 —single women are especially vulnerable. Illuminated by the Senior Financial Security Index (SFSI), the facts are clear. While senior single women can expect to live longer than men, many have insufficient retirement assets to cover the rising costs of essential needs, especially housing. This means that the available retirement wealth they do have must be stretched farther and thinner until, for many, there is simply nothing left.