Maine Philanthropy Center

Building Connections for Maine Grantmakers

New Report: The Status of Seniors in Maine

Thursday, January 21, 2016

This report represents one more tool that can be used by those in Maine who believe that our seniors deserve at least the same degree of opportunity and support that they spent their lives providing for others.

- Tony Cipollone, John T. Gorman Foundation

The John T. Gorman Foundation issued a new report, A Portrait of Wellbeing: The Status of Seniors in Maine, highlighting the economic, housing, and social factors impacting older adults in the state. Maine has the highest median age of any state in the country, and the third highest percentage of people aged 65 and older.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy used U.S. Census data to see how Maine seniors are doing as compared to seniors nationally and within other Northern New England states. They also examined the wellbeing of seniors in Maine by age categories, across different income levels, and by Maine region in order to highlight any differences in wellbeing. The report is intended to create a baseline for measuring progress in these areas in the coming years and provide a grounding for discussions about the issues facing seniors in Maine.

Among the key findings:

  • Maine has a higher percentage of seniors with low incomes than neighboring states: 29% compared to 21.1% in New Hampshire and 23.5% in Vermont.
  • Seniors living in southeast Cumberland County are more likely to be poor or low-income when compared to those living in other areas of the state.
  • Seniors in Oxford, Somerset, Franklin, and Piscataquis counties, as well as southeast Cumberland County, are more likely to live alone.
  • Half of Maine’s senior renters live in homes where more than 30 percent of total household income is spent on housing costs.
  • Across the state, low-income seniors consistently fare worse than their higher-income peers on indicators of well-being: they are more likely be burdened by housing costs, whether they rent or own, are less likely to be married, and are three times more likely to live alone.

The John T. Gorman Foundation is responding to the report by committing $900,000 over two years to fund services for state’s older residents;

Read the full report.

Hear about the report on MPBN.

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