According to recent studies, the poverty rate among Latino seniors is nearly 18%.  Economic insecurity is especially difficult for older adults who are often not physically able to improve their economic situation by re-entering the workforce. Moreover, most of the elders experiencing economic insecurity spent their youth and adulthood in the workforce, but were not able to save enough money to support their basic needs in older age.

The recent economic downturn has made conditions even more dire, wiping out wealth accumulated in Latino households during boom years, including property value, and making even low-wage and low-benefits jobs scarce. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic household wealth fell 66% between 2005 and 2009.

Latino families also endure disproportionately high levels of unemployment.— 8.6% compared to the national rate of 5.7%, for their white counterparts, according to Center for American Progress. These current conditions among working-age Latino head of households point to even higher levels of economic insecurity among older adults in the future.

Moreover, the economic downturn combined with high national debt has resulted in a political push to put federal programs on the chopping block that were once considered immune to cuts, among them Social Security. Older Latino adults are more likely to be wholly dependent on Social Security than any other racial or ethnic group.  Without Social Security, a full 50% of Latino older adults would be living in poverty.