States Where Seniors Cannot Afford to Live

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10. California
> Elderly economic security gap: $6,684
> Median elder income: $19,200 (11th highest)
> Annual cost of comfortable living for an elder: $25,884 (7th highest)
> Life expectancy in years: 80.4 (3rd longest)
> Housing costs per month: $799 (14th highest)
> Health care costs per month: $338 (3rd lowest)

The average annual cost of comfortable living for a senior in California is $25,884, the seventh-highest cost in the country, according to the WOW’s Economic Security Database. Health care costs are among the biggest expenses for the elderly in the state. California’s economy has been badly damaged the past few years by the recession. Home prices in the state have plummeted almost 50% since they peaked in 2006. Even with this massive decline, housing costs for the elderly are still nearly $800 per month, or $9,600 annually. Another burden on the state’s residents is the cost of food, which WOW’s database estimates at $259 per month, the highest in the U.S. The cost of housing, health care and food comes to $16,592 per year, close to the median elder income, leaving barely any room for transportation or other expenses.

9. Rhode Island
> Elderly economic security gap: $7,208
> Median elder income: $17,200 (25th lowest)
> Annual cost of comfortable living for an elder: $24,408 (10th highest)
> Life expectancy in years: 79.3 (18th longest)
> Housing costs per month: $859 (7th highest)
> Health care costs per month: $370 (9th lowest)

The average person over 65 in Rhode Island makes $17,200 per year, the 25th-lowest rate in the country, according to the Economic Security Database. However, an independent senior citizen needs $24,408 annually to live healthily, the 10th-highest cost in the country. The average single, renting senior citizen spends $2,916 each year on food, the 10th most in the country. The same resident spends $859 per month on rent, or $10,308 per year, more than all but six other states.

8. Mississippi
> Elderly economic security gap: $7,216
> Median elder income: $14,000 (the lowest)
> Annual cost of comfortable living for an elder: $21,216 (25th lowest)
> Life expectancy in years: 74.8 (the shortest)
> Housing costs per month: $579 (19th lowest)
> Health care costs per month: $403 (21st highest)

While most of the states with the biggest economic security gap have some of the highest costs of living for the elderly, Mississippi’s costs are relatively low. The average annual costs for comfortable living in the state is $21,216, only the 25th-lowest rate in the country. But while costs are lower, incomes are lower still. Mississippi state residents have the highest poverty rate in the country of 21.8% and the lowest general median income of $36,851. The elderly income of $14,000 a year is also the lowest in the nation. To the extremely poor residents of the state, even these relatively moderate costs weigh heavily on the retired.

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7. Maine
> Elderly economic security gap: $7,516
> Median elder income: $15,500 (9th lowest)
> Annual cost of comfortable living for an elder: $23,016 (16th highest)
> Life expectancy in years: 78.7 (24th longest)
> Housing costs per month: $665 (22nd highest)
> Health care costs per month: $437 (4th highest)

Maine has among the highest annual economic security costs in the country. Notably, the state has the fourth-highest transportation costs, at $2,916 per year, and the fourth-highest health care costs for seniors in the nation, at $5,244 per year. A single, renting retiree earns an average of just $15,500 each year, the ninth-lowest income in the U.S. That leaves a $7,516 gap between income and a comfortable, secure life.

6. Vermont
> Elderly economic security gap: $7,780
> Median elder income: $17,300 (25th highest)
> Annual cost of comfortable living for an elder: $25,080 (9th highest)
> Life expectancy in years: 79.7 (tied, 15th longest)
> Housing costs per month: $789 (15th highest)
> Health care costs per month: $455 (the highest)

For the most part, the wealthier states have higher costs. In Vermont, however, median household income is barely in the top half for all states, but the cost of living is the ninth-highest, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. All of the major costs for the elderly, including food, transportation and housing are in the top 15. However, the biggest burden on state retirees is health care. According to the Economic Security Database, the average independent elderly person in Vermont needs to have $455 set aside each month to cover health expenses, more than any other state.