Why minorities depend more on Social Security

Higher rates of poverty, disability, morbidity and — among black and Native Americans — mortality mean that non-elderly Americans also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than white Americans, who mostly rely on the program for retirement benefits alone.

Ethnic minorities are expected to be a majority of the U.S. population by 2042, and that big demographic change will eventually affect Social Security as well — if a bit further down the road. By around 2070 or so, Social Security itself will reflect the new “minority majority” population, predicts Maya Rockeymoore, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, which put together a new report on the issue with a coalition of left-leaning policy and minority advocacy groups. The report points out that minority Americans tend to rely more heavily on Social Security than white Americans, given the disparities in wealth and income.

The authors points out that minorities are also less likely to have workplace-sponsored pension programs, as they’re less likely to have employers that offer such benefits. And the wealth gap means they have fewer assets to draw upon. (SSI stands for “Supplemental Security Income,”an auxillary Social Security benefit program.)


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