Why Black Women Are Aging Alone


Gianni Martinez, Sports Editor

By 2060, 1 in 4 Americans will be 65 years or older, but Black women are in a uniquely precarious position, that’s because they face a wider “kin gap” — meaning they are without a partner, children, siblings or parents who are still alive — at rates higher than other demographics.  Gaps in the U.S. health care system means that family members often need to provide medical, emotional and financial support to keep their elders alive. Elevated divorce rates, fewer marriages, and the disproportionate incarceration of Black men are all factors. Meanwhile, the economic burden of aging alone is due to the wealth gap women have faced for decades due to racism.

Karen Jennings was among the many women who are aging alone due to the stock market crashing in 2008 taking away all her life savings and investments. She was forced to sell her house that she co-owned with her aunt and mother who by then, had died. As an only child who’s never married or had children Jennings, now 65 years old has no relatives to lean on for support. Jennings is part of the many black women aging alone, she goes on to say in this same article that, “It frightens me that the older I get, I don’t want to be in an apartment dead for days and nobody knows me.”