LANSING, Dec. 14, 2023: Disrupting Disparities: Retirement Savings and Food Security reveals concerning issues related to retirement and food security among Michigan’s older adults. This study, prepared by AARP Michigan and Public Sector Consultants, highlights challenges older adults in Michigan [and many other states] face in two policy areas: ensuring savings for retirement through employment, and access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets older adults’ dietary needs.


Its key findings include:

Retirement Insecurity

  • A staggering 30% of U.S. households with individuals over 55 have no retirement savings, and roughly half of all low-income older workers have no retirement savings.
  • Gaps in data collection have led to racial, ethnic and gender disparities in access to retirement savings programs going largely unnoticed and unaddressed.
  • Female Michiganders under 65 overall are less likely (73.8 percent) than males (84.2 percent) to be included in their workplace retirement savings programs. The disparities are even more striking for female Michiganders of color, only 63.8 percent of whom are included in their workplace retirement savings programs.


Food Insecurity

  • Food insecurity can lead to lower overall diet quality, lower self-reported physical and mental health, an increase in cognitive decline, increased healthcare costs and cost-related medication underuse.
  • An estimated 131,881 Michiganders age 60 and over (roughly 5.3 percent) have some form of food insecurity. The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area is estimated to contain over half of the older adults struggling with food insecurity in Michigan (75,675 seniors).
  • African American residents are over three times more likely to suffer from food insecurity than white residents.

“Michigan’s ability to improve the health and financial security of its aging population is hampered by the continued existence of health disparities among diverse groups of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, geography, income and other characteristics,” said Paula Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director. “The AARP 2023 Disrupt Disparities report highlights the need for systemic changes to ensure all Michigan residents are able to age with dignity and security.”

NOTE: Disrupting Disparities: Retirement Savings and Food Security follows three previous reports in AARP Michigan’s Disrupting Disparities series that kicked off in 2018. The previous Disrupting Disparities reports can be found here: