The standards of living of elderly people from 1996 to 2009: an average progression in line with that for people of working age, but with more contrasted individual and generational situations
In 2009, the average standard of living of people aged 65 and over was 22,530 euros annually. From the 1970s to the middle of the 1990s, this standard of living, sustained by increasingly generous pensions, had gradually caught up with that of people of working age. Since 1996, on average, the living standards of those aged 65 or over and people of working age have evolved in parallel. Beyond this average, individual situations were more contrasted. Over the period, the standard of living of the youngest senior citizens rose more rapidly than that of the most elderly. Furthermore, within each generation of elderly people, two effects are in sharp contrast: on the one hand, for recent generations of senior citizens, a fall in the number of beneficiaries of the basic old age pension and a reduction in inequalities; on the other hand, strong growth in property income over the period and an increase in their polarisation at the top of the distribution. This phenomenon did not just apply to the elderly, but is particularly marked among them, so that all in all, the disparities in living standards increase within each age class. Moreover, the elderly remain on average far less affected by poverty than those of working age. Poverty among senior citizens remains concentrated - and has even increased - among women over 75 years of age, often widows and who, over the generations concerned, have worked little.