Study ranks Pa. in lower third of states for senior safety |
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Jeff Himler

Pennsylvania placed 35th among U.S. states in a study ranking them and Washington, D.C., according to safe living conditions for senior citizens.

The study, which considers both physical and economic security, was released Friday by The Senior List, a site focused on the needs of baby boomers and older adults.

It ranks the states based on five state-by-state statistics from the Census Bureau and other sources: Frauds reported per 100,000 people; housing costs for renter-occupied dwellings; percentage of those age 65 or older living in poverty; the average rate of violent-injury deaths per 100,000 people among the 65-plus demographic; and the number of people in that age bracket who live alone, expressed as a percentage of each state’s population.

The figures date from 2017, except for the fatal injury rates, which are drawn from 2008-2014 reporting by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fraud data comes from the Federal Trade Commission.

Placing just below the middle third of states in the ranking, at No. 35 overall, Pennsylvania had its best showing in the violent fatality category — ranking 12th out of 51, with a lower number signifying a lower risk. According to the CDC, Pennsylvania witnessed between 14.13 and 18.82 violence-related fatal injuries per 100,000 seniors in 2008-2014.

The Keystone State was near the bottom of the list, at No. 47, for the percentage of seniors living alone. Census Bureau estimates from 2017 show just under 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s total population of nearly 12.8 million were householders living alone. That portion increased to 45.4 percent among the state’s 2.18 million residents age 65 or older.

Iowa claimed the top spot as the overall safest state for seniors, according to the study, while the greatest risks for older residents were found in Florida.

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