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Happy 80th Birthday, Social Security!

August 14, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Eighty years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.  To celebrate, we’ve updated our backgrounder on this successful program, which has a long history of popular and presidential support.  Here are ten numbers that highlight Social Security’s broad reach and profound impact:

  • Number of Americans receiving Social Security:  60 million
  • Number of recipients older than Social Security itself: 11 million
  • Average Social Security monthly retirement benefit:  $1,335 (about $16,000 a year)
  • Share of population aged 60-89 who receive or will receive Social Security benefits: 97 percent
  • Share of Social Security beneficiaries aged 85 and older who are women:  66 percent
  • Number of elderly lifted out of poverty by Social Security: 14.7 million
  • Number of children lifted out of poverty by Social Security:  1.2 million
  • Share of elderly who receive most of their income through Social Security:  65 percent
  • Share of elderly who receive all or nearly all of their income through Social Security: 36 percent
  • Social Security administrative costs as a share of benefits:  0.7 percent