Aging, Women and Poverty in California

Aging, Women and Poverty in California

we must do more…

This policy paper summarizes the key issues facing poor older women in California and serves as a roadmap for policy makers, aging advocates, advocates gender equity, academia and community leaders. Key observations and recommendations from the2016 Aging, Women and Poverty in California forum are supplemented with research material from a variety of sources that will enable us to build further awareness and the framework of a strategy for addressing the changing dynamics and economic realities for California women as they age.




Senior Rally Day flyer

California’s older adult population will nearly double – by 4 million – over the next two decades. Traditionally, older women live longer than men and make up the majority of older adults. While increased longevity is a bonus for some adults it can often bring with it chronic health conditions, frailty, vulnerability, social isolation and scarcity of resources. Women who live longer are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and those who live longest also risk outliving their savings. One in five single older women live below the federal poverty level, while another 32.2 percent have incomes that are higher, yet are still unable to meet their basic living expenses. Older women of color are at greatest risk of poverty, with over 60% of all single elders of color facing economic insecurity.

In 2016 CCoA joined with the California Women’s Law Center and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls to host the first statewide effort to look at the issue of older women in poverty through the lenses of retirement options, elder justice, food insecurity and health access. The event brought together policy leaders from around the state representing diverse disciplines and perspectives in order to cultivate a set of policy recommendations addressing this looming crisis. Approximately 150 attended the one-day forum to hear ideas for improving the economic status of older women today and to help younger women avoid a similar fate. The forum included remarks by elected leaders, plenary speakers and three expert panels focused on:

  • creating a common dialogue around older women and poverty
  • drawing the connection between poverty, inequity and abuse
  • examining retirement and economic security policies and programs

The program and PowerPoint presentations from the Aging, Women and Poverty in California forum can be accessed here.

CCoA Director Sandi Fitzpatrick, Manoj Pardasani, PhD, Peter Rittenhouse

Luncheon speakers included (L-R) White House represetative Alyssa Ko, CCoA Chair Paul Downey, CCoA Executive Director Sandra Fitzpatrick, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Senator Carol Liu, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, CWLF Executive Director Betsy Butler and CCSWG Executive Director Nancy Kirschner-Rodriguez.