AARP AARP States New York Advocacy

NY’s Communities of Color Have Less Access to Retirement Savings, Banks, Pay More for Caregiving, Housing; AARP, Partners Launch Policy Solutions Agenda

AARP, Asian American and Hispanic Federations, NAACP, Urban League join in unprecedented effort to disrupt racial and ethnic disparities in health, economic security and livable communities among NY’s 50+

NEW YORK, NY. – January 24, 2018 – AARP and top advocacy organizations for New York’s communities of color joined today to launch an unprecedented policy solutions agenda aimed at disrupting vast racial and ethnic disparities among New Yorkers 50 and older as detailed in a new brief on health, economic security and livable communities.

“Disrupting Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Solutions for New Yorkers Age 50-Plus” ( ), compiled by AARP in partnership with the Asian American Federation, the Hispanic Federation, the NAACP and the New York Urban League, takes a first-ever look at gaps specifically affecting New Yorkers of color 50 and older. It is the launch for a three- to five-year effort in which AARP and its partners will welcome information and potential solutions from the public.

The brief includes the following findings – but also recommends achievable short- and long-term solutions:

  • New York State suffers the highest level of income inequality in the nation, with the top 1% of New Yorkers earning an astounding 45 times more than the bottom 99%.
  • Most private sector employees from New York’s communities of color work for companies that don’t offer a retirement savings plan option – including two thirds of Hispanic/Latinos (H/L)
  • There is just one bank branch for every 10,000 residents in New York City neighborhoods of color compared to 3.24 branches for every 10,000 residents in other neighborhoods.
  • In New York City and Long Island, student loan delinquencies are clustered in zip codes with significant middle-income African American/Black (AA/B) and H/L populations, suggesting that middle income people of color are likely to carry unaffordable student loan burdens.
  • Where payday lending is legal, lower-income people of color make up a disproportionately large segment of borrowers – and older adults are an especially fast-growing segment of payday loan borrowers in the U.S. Seniors in California, where payday lending is permitted, are now the largest age group of payday loan borrowers.
  • Family caregivers work an average of 18 hours a week providing care, even while 60 percent have full- or part-time jobs. And while average family caregivers spent nearly 20% of their income on out of pocket caregiving costs in 2016 nationally, caregivers from communities of color spent more - 44% of income for H/L caregivers.
  • Older residents of communities of color moved to nursing homes at higher rates nationally between 1999 and 2008 - H/L by 54.9%, Asian American/Pacific Islanders (AAPI) by 54.1%, AA/B by 10.8% - compared to a decrease among White Americans (10.2%).
  • Neighborhoods with the highest foreclosure risk are almost exclusively communities of color, including many middle- and upper-income AA/B neighborhoods with large 50-plus populations.
  • H/L households on average have just 3.4%, AA/B households 6.2%, and AAPI households 21% the wealth of the median white household.
  • Homeowners from New York’s communities of color are disproportionately “cost-burdened,” spending at least 30% of their income on housing (including 60% of H/L homeowners). In fact, residents of communities of color are twice as likely as White New Yorkers to pay over half their income for housing – and it’s even worse for women and immigrants.

These harsh realities have resulted in alarming financial gaps and grave disparities. But coming together for the first time in a concerted effort, the organizations are urging New York State to:

  • Create a retirement savings option that businesses which don’t already have one can offer their employees – as Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed in his recent executive budget and Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez have proposed in Legislature.
  • Encourage electronic consultations and other telehealth applications through smart phones – as the Governor also proposed in his budget as part of initiatives to advance the use of telehealth to keep people in their home longer and out of institutional care.
  • Enact a family caregiver tax credit to help offset the out-of-pocket costs of those who care for loved ones.
  • Increase cost-effective funding for services that help New Yorkers age in their own homes – and relieve family caregivers of some of their burdens - to keep pace with the growing demands of an aging population.

The brief focuses on disparities among communities of color statewide with particular emphasis on New York City, Long Island, and Buffalo. It is intended to spark a compendium of findings and solutions to help address these disparities within the next three to five years.


The 60 and over population of New York state’s communities of color grew by a staggering 43% between 2000 and 2010 – over 20 times that of the entire population (2.1%) and over five times the 8% increase among the state’s 60+ White population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This disproportionately rapid growth is projected to continue in the decades ahead and significantly worsen the wide gaps that already exist.

“There are widespread racial and ethnic disparities across the United States, but for the large and rapidly growing 50+ population of color in New York, challenges around economic security and access to affordable housing, transportation and healthcare will continue to mount,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director. “Several studies have shed light on these disparities, but few, if any, have led to necessary policy changes or focused on New York’s 50+ populations. While no single policy solution can address all disparity causes and concerns, the time to join forces to disrupt ethnic and racial disparities is now.”

“This report provides data to illustrate the magnitude of these disparities, as well as to propose policy recommendations that serve as a roadmap for a way forward”, said Hazel Dukes, President of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People New York State Conference. “As the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement showed us, progress comes – sometimes quickly and dramatically, but more often through tough, unglamorous, incremental policy work. The time to get to work is long past, and we stand proudly with AARP to support New York’s 50-plus people of color.”

“For more than a quarter-century, the Hispanic Federation has worked to empower and advance the Hispanic community,” said Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation. “We advocate for Hispanic children, women and men of all ages with programs and services for both young and old. In New York State, where the Hispanic community makes up almost 20% of the population, it is crucial that we meet the needs of 50-plus Hispanics and their families.”

“Without strong policy interventions to address inequitable access to both public and private services, inequality has a nasty habit of reproducing itself from generation to generation,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “This report is notable in that, beyond stating the problems, it aims to provide concrete solutions. We are honored to be part of this coalition as our mission is to raise the influence and well-being of the pan-Asian American community through research, policy and advocacy.”

“New York is one of the most urbanized states in the nation, with the majority of African Americans living in larger cities,” said Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, Inc. “Since 1910, we have been dedicated to ensuring the economic empowerment of historically underserved urban communities.  With the growing diversity of New York’s population, particularly among people age 50-plus, ensuring the well-being and equality of people of color in this age segment is more urgent than ever.”

AARP’s Finkel added: “We are asking policymakers, advocates and the public at large to share their knowledge and experiences of existing disparities so we can press public officials to adopt policy changes that address these inequalities. By closing the serious gaps that exist, people in African American/Black, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino communities can enjoy the same stability and equal footing as everyone else by having more choices in how and where they live as they age.”

Those interested in following or joining the conversation can visit which will serve as a platform to host the latest research findings, policy updates and information related to this effort, and a place to contribute ideas and insights (by emailing ) .

Contact: Erik Kriss,

# # #


About AARP New York
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.