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Older Immigrants: a Coming Challenge

August 12, 2013
Plain English Version

The pictures of young people crossing the Mexican border to the United States are well known. Pictures of older immigrants sitting in U.S. senior centers or in their sparse homes are not.

The median age of immigrants is 43. Immigrants are now 46 percent of the total U.S. senior population. The number is growing fast.

The income and retirement savings of older immigrants are much less than those of native-born Americans. They get fewer benefits from programs like Medicare and Social Security.

New York City has the largest number of immigrants over the age of 65 in the nation. Nearly 24 percent of all older immigrants in New York City live in poverty, compared with only 15 percent of native-born older people.

A new study says that New York and other cities will be facing great challenges in the future. Asians who came here in the 1960s are the biggest number of older immigrants. The wave of Caribbean and Latino immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s also is now aging.

New York is in better shape than most cities to help immigrants. It has a great public transportation system. Large groups of immigrants live in the same neighborhoods. Health care centers are nearby.

However, none of the services are really ready to handle the growing number of older immigrants, many of whom do not speak English.

Experts say the “greying” of the immigrant population is taking place all over the United States. More than most places, New York City is on the case.

Source: The New York Times

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