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Person holding cashThe Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston developed the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index).  The Elder Index measures the income that seniors need to meet their basic needs.  The Index examines data from all over the country.  You can look at the cost of living for renters, homeowners, couples or single seniors, and various levels of health.  Read the full report here.  Unsurprisingly, the cost of living in Contra Costa County is high.  For seniors, there are often additional costs for healthcare that younger individuals may not need.

When examining these statistics, it is good to remember that the average monthly benefit for seniors on Social Security is $1,471.  For those on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seniors get less than $1,000 a month.  Further, many seniors fall in the gap between the federal poverty level and the income needed for basic needs under the Elder Index.  In California, 33.9% of seniors fall in the gap, and may not be eligible for certain government benefits, but still cannot meet basic needs.

Single Renter in Good Health Cost of Living: $2,914

For a single renter in Contra Costa in good health, the monthly cost of living is $2,914.  That includes:

  • $1,076 for housing
  • $424 for health costs
  • $221 for transportation
  • $257 for food
  • $306 for miscellaneous essentials (household and personal items, telephone, etc)

For a single person in poor health, the cost goes up to $3,080.  For a couple that rents and is in good health, the cost is $3,824.

Couple Homeowner in Poor Health with No Mortgage: $3,080

For a single homeowner with a mortgage, the costs include:

  • $630 for housing
  • $1,180 for health costs
  • $341 for transportation
  • $471 for food
  • $458 for miscellaneous esstentials

For a couple with a mortgage in poor health, that cost goes up to $4,606 per month.  

The cost of living for seniors is very high, and many struggle to meet their basic needs.  For assistance with meeting your basic needs, call Information & Assistance at 1-800-510-2020.