AMONG THE ELDERLY
Robyn I. Stone
Poverty rates among the elderly population have declined during the past decade. National statistics indicate that there has been a strong growth in after-tax income for the elderly as a group, including those with relatively low incomes. Furthermore, in 1982, for the first time since the official poverty index was introduced, a smaller proportion of the elderly than the nonelderly lived in poverty.
Evidence of improvement in the economic status of the elderly population has led to increased concern over the "graying of the budget," particularly with respect to the allocation of resources between the young and the old. In a provocative presidential address to the Population Association of America, Samuel H. Preston argued that benefits to the politically powerful elderly have expanded during the 1980s while the increasing subpopulation of poor children in America is faced with cutbacks in important public programs. He called for a reordering of priorities and a reallocation of resources toward the youth of this country. 1
While the economic conditions of the elderly as a group have improved in recent years, pockets of poverty still prevail among this heterogeneous population. A number of researchers have argued that there has been a "feminization of poverty" among the elderly, 2 a phrase coined in the late 1970s in reference to those societal processes through which poverty is concentrated among younger women and children. 3 This article will demonstrate that poverty among the elderly also is concentrated among women. The first section describes the current