Archive for the ‘AARP Bulletin’ Category

Your Sales Tax is How High?!

May 29, 2018

Sales taxes (combined state and local sales tax rates) vary widely from state to state.  Do you know how your state fares?  Here are the most-taxed states as well as the least-taxed states courtesy of the May 2018 AARP Bulletin (sales tax rates as of January 1, 2018).

Highest Taxes
1. Louisiana (10.0%)
2. Tennessee (9.5%)
3. Arkansas (9.4%)
4. Washington (9.2%)
5. Alabama (9.1%)
6. Oklahoma (8.9%)
7. Kansas (8.7%)
7. Illinois (8.7%)
9.  New York (8.5%)
9. California (8.5%)
10. Arizona (8.3%)

Lowest Taxes
1. Montana (0.0%)
1. Oregon (0.0%)
1. (Delaware (0.0%)
1. New Hampshire (0.0%)
5. Alaska (1.8%)
6. Hawaii (4.4%)
7. Wisconsin (5.4%)
8. Wyoming (5.5%)
9. Virginia (5.6%)
10. Maryland (6.0%)
10. Kentucky (6.0%)
10. Idaho (6.0%)
10. Michigan (6.0%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, May 2018, p. 36; The Tax Foundation.  Note: the local sales tax was computed by averaging across the entire state.

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How Do You Feel?!

April 28, 2018

The April issue of the AARP Bulletin examined the state-by-state rankings based upon the percentage of seniors (aged 65+) who “self-report” that their health is very good or excellent.

Who reports being healthy the most?
1. Colorado (52.3%)
2. New Hampshire (51.3%)
3.  Vermont (48.6%)
4. Minnesota (48.4%)
5. Idaho (48.3%)
6. Maine (48.0%)
7. Massachusetts (47.9%)
8. Montana (46.4%)
9. Utah (46.3%)
10. Arizona (45.6%)

Who reports being healthy the least?
1. Mississippi (29.0%)
2. Alabama (30.3%)
3. Oklahoma (32.3%) – yikes!
4. Louisiana (32.6%)
5. West Virginia (33.7%)
6. Kentucky (34.2%)
7. Arkansas (34.9%)
8. Tennessee (35.9%)
9. North Carolina (36.9%)
10. Texas (38.2%)
10. New York (38.2%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, April 2018, p. 40; CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; 2017 America’s Healthy Rankings Senior Report.

Looking for a Nursing Home?!

April 19, 2018

So, what are the chances that you will be able to find a bed in a quality, highly-rated facility in your state?  Here’s the breakdown (courtesy of the AARP Bulletin) by percentage of beds by state (highest versus lowest).

Highest percentage
1. Maine (56%)
1. Washington (56%)
3. Utah (55%)
3. Vermont (55%)
3. Minnesota (55%)
3. District of Columbia (55%)
7. Delaware (54%)
7. Rhode Island (54%)
9. New Hampshire (53%)
9. Colorado (53%)
10. New Jersey (52%)
10. Arizona (52%)
10. Idaho (52%)
10. Montana (52%)

Lowest percentage
1.West Virginia (26%)
2. Louisiana (27%)
3. North Carolina (28%)
3. Texas (28%)
5. Kentucky (30%)
6. Georgia (32%)
6. Oklahoma (32%)
6. New Mexico (32%)
9. Virginia (35%)
9. Illinois (35%)
9. Pennsylvania (35%)
10. Alabama (37%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, March 2018 issue, p. 44; U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; America’s Health Rankings/United Health Foundation.  All percentages are rounded.

Binge Drinking!

February 3, 2018

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), binge drinking is defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.”  When it comes to the “who” re: binge drinking, the CDC further identified the following groups (for the full report, check out this CDC Fact Sheet):

  • One in six US adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge.
  • Binge drinking is most common among younger adults aged 18–34 years, but is reported across the lifespan.
  • The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women.
  • Binge drinking is more common among people with household incomes of $75,000 or more than among people with lower incomes. However, people with lower incomes binge drink more often and consume more drinks when they do.
  • Over 90% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  • Most people younger than age 21 who drink report binge drinking, usually on multiple occasions.

Here is the breakdown by percentage per state (highest and lowest) for adults 65+ who report chronic (more than 1-2 drinks per day) or binge (more than 4-5 drinks at a time) drinking.

Highest percentage:
1. Alaska (10.7%)
2. Wisconsin (10.4%)
3. Nevada (9.8%)
3. Washington, DC (9.8%)
5. Hawaii (9.5%)
6. Oregon (9.4%)
7. Washington (8.5%)
8. Montana (8.3%)
8. Michigan (8.3%)
10. Illinois (8.0%)

Lowest percentage:
1. West Virginia (3.3%)
2. Tennessee (3.8%)
3. Mississippi (3.9%)
4. Arkansas (4.2%)
4. Oklahoma (4.2%)
4. Utah (4.2%)
7. Kentucky (4.3%)
8. South Dakota (4.5%)
8. Alabama (4.5%)
10. Kansas (4.8%)

Source: America’s Health Rankings: Senior Report 2017, AARP Bulletin, Jan-Feb 2018, p. 48.

Plugged In!

January 25, 2018

In our modern world, electricity is king.  And for some seniors, relying on electricity to keep their home health equipment running is a life-preserving reality.  How many seniors would be at risk in the event of a power failure?  Here are the state comparisons of the percentage of Medicare beneficiaries who currently rely on electricity to keep their equipment running.  Oklahoma came in at 6.2% (middle of the pack).

Highest percentage
1. Wyoming (12.7%)
2. Colorado (11.9%)
3. Utah (11.1%)
4. New Mexico (9.8%)
5. West Virginia (8.2%)
6. Kentucky (7.6%)
7. Arkansas (7.3%)
7. Nevada (7.3%)
9. Idaho (7.0%)
9. Tennessee (7.0%)

Lowest percentage
1. Hawaii (2.1%)
2. District of Columbia (2.5%)
3. Rhode Island (2.6%)
4. New Jersey (3.1%)
5. Massachusetts (3.2%)
6. California (3.3%)
7. Maryland (3.4%)
7. New York (3.4%)
9. Connecticut (3.5%)
9. Wisconsin (3.5%)
9. Minnesota (3.5%)
9. Alaska (3.5%)

Sources: Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; AARP Bulletin, December 2017, p. 34.

These Stats are Smokin’!

December 7, 2017

I know that smoking is somewhat passe these days and the number of smokers has dropped significantly (in the 1960s, approximately 42% of Americans smoked; by 2014 this percentage had dropped to 15.1% of all adults in 2015 (courtesy of the Center for Disease Control).  But when it comes to seniors (age 65+) how do the State rankings fare?  Here are the rankings by state of the percentages of seniors who currently smoke.

Highest percentage:
1. Tennessee (13.8%)
2. Oklahoma (13.0%)
3. Kentucky (12.3%)
3. Nevada (12.3%)
5. Arkansas (11.4%)
5. Louisiana (11.4%)
7. Indiana (10.9%)
8. New Mexico (10.8%)
9. West Virginia (10.7%)
9. Mississippi (10.7%)

Lowest percentage:
1. Utah (5.2%)
2. Hawaii (6.1%)
2. California (6.1%)
4. Texas (6.7%)
4. New Hampshire (6.7%)
6. Connecticut (7.3%)
7. Minnesota (7.4%)
8. Rhode Island (7.5%)
8. New Jersey (7.5%)
10. Maryland (7.6%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, November 2017, p. 44; America’s Health Rankings 2017 Senior Report.

Are You Visiting Your Dentist?!

November 29, 2017

Most people would probably self-report that they do not enjoying going to the dentist. And, there is probably a good chunk of the population that fails to go for economic reasons.  When you look at the senior population (aged 65+) the percentage varies drastically from state to state.  Here are the states with the highest percentage of seniors visiting dental professionals as well as the states with the lowest percentages.

Highest percentages
1.  Hawaii (78.1%)
2.  Minnesota (75.6%)
3.  Connecticut (75.1%)
4.  New Hampshire (74.1%)
5.  Michigan (72.4%)
6.  Vermont (71.9%)
6.  Massachusetts (71.9%)
8.  Wisconsin (71.6%)
9.  California (71.3%)
10.  Utah (71.0%)

Lowest percentages
1.  West Virginia (48.6%)
2.  Mississippi (54.0%)
3.  Arkansas (54.5%)
4.  OKLAHOMA (55.4%)
5.  Kentucky (57.0%)
6.  Louisiana (57.2%)
7.  Alabama (57.9%)
8.  Tennessee (58.6%)
9.  Missouri (58.8%)
10.  Nevada (9.7%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, October 2017, p. 44 and 2017 Heath Rankings Senior Report.

Long-Term Care!

November 22, 2017

According to a study compiled by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation, “more than 9 in 10 Americans want to live at home or with a relative — rather than at a nursing home — for as long as possible.”  According to the study some states would be able to provide this to seniors better than others.  For the states that do it well, it is not only good for the person needing care, but it is generally less expensive to boot.  The states that do this the best include:

  1. Washington
  2. Minnesota
  3. Vermont
  4. Oregon
  5. Alaska

The states that don’t do quite as well include:

46.  Tennessee
47.  Mississippi
48.  Alabama
49.  Kentucky
50.  Indiana

Source: AARP Bulletin, September 2017, p 38.

How Do You Spend Your Free Time?!

November 2, 2017

Do you believe in “giving back?”  Do you volunteer or donate your time to any organizations?  Seniors certainly do (and they usually have the time to do so) but it does vary from state to state.  Here are the state rankings (highest percentages and lowest percentages) for seniors (65+) who donated their time in the past year.  Oklahoma is safely is the middle of the pack at 24%.

Highest percentages
1.  Utah (46%)
2.  Minnesota (38%)
3.  North Dakota (37%)
3.  Kansas (37%)
5.  South Dakota (36%)
6.  Nebraska (35%)
6.  Idaho (35%)
8.  Vermont (34%)
9.  Wisconsin (33%)
9.  Iowa (33%)

Lowest percentages
1.  Louisiana (16%)
2.  New York (17%)
3.  West Virginia (18%)
3.  Nevada (18%)
5.  Virginia (19%)
5.  Georgia (19%)
5.  Florida (19%)
5.  Rhode Island (19%)
9.  Arkansas (20%)
10.  Texas (21%)
10.  Arizona (21%)
10.  New Jersey (21%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, September 2017, p. 44; America’s Health Rankings: 2017 Senior Report.

Fatal Falls!

April 10, 2017

I’m sure you’ve heard the quip “have a nice trip, I’ll see you next fall” in reference to someone who trips or stumbles.  Unfortunately, for people who are 65 years old (or older) falls can have fatal consequences.  Here are the statistics on the number of fatal falls per 100,000 persons by state for 2015 (top ten states, most and least).  Oklahoma finished just outside the top-ten (#11) with 93.

Most Fatal Falls
1.  Wisconsin (135)
2.  Minnesota (126)
3.  Vermont (122)
4.  South Dakota (116)
5.  New Mexico (105)
6.  Colorado (103)
7.  Oregon (98)
7.  Iowa (98)
7.  Rhode Island (98)
10.  New Hampshire (96)

Least Fatal Falls
1.   Alabama (26)
2.  New Jersey (30)
3.  Delaware (36)
4.  California (39)
5.  Louisiana (40)
5.  Indiana (40)
7.  New York (42)
8.  Kentucky (43)
9.  South Carolina (45)
9.  Georgia (45)

Source: AARP Bulletin, April 2017, p. 44; 24/7 Wall Street (numbers are rounded).