It’s something many people know intuitively but that makes the reality no less harsh when it is framed by concrete figures: the sluggish U.S. economy is squeezing black and Latino seniors even harder than their white counterparts.

The deep recession of 2008-2009 took a heavy toll on the retirement prospects of aging Americans. With so many retirement savings plans linked to employer-based stock market investments, the downturn took a steep toll on the holdings of those who were lucky enough to have savings.

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley’s Labor Center shows the extent of the difficulties facing elderly minorities. Here are some of the low-lights:




Elder poverty rates are twice as high among Blacks and Latinos compared to the U.S. population as a whole: 19.4 percent of Black seniors and 19.0 percent of Latino seniors have incomes below the federal poverty line, compared to 9.4 percent for the senior population overall.

Less than a third of employed Latinos and less than half of Black workers are covered by an employer sponsored retirement plan, a critical resource in ensuring adequate retirement income.  As a result, they are disproportionately reliant on the limited income provided by Social Security.