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Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2003

(released June 2003)


The Social Security program, from its beginning to the present, has been the subject of serious discussion and sometimes vigorous debate. Today, as we consider the future direction of Social Security, we need to base the discussion on information that is factual, informative, and easy to comprehend.

Fast Facts & Figures answers the most frequently asked questions about the programs SSA administers. It highlights basic program data for the Social Security (retirement, survivors, and disability) and Supplemental Security Income programs. Most of the data come from the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, which contains more than 250 detailed tables. The information on the income of the aged is from the data series Income of the Population 55 or Older.

The faces that emerge from these facts and figures illustrate the importance of Social Security for our oldest and our youngest citizens. In all, more than 50 million people receive some type of benefit or assistance.

Patrice Cole prepared this chartbook. Emil Loomis designed the chartbook and prepared the print version for publication. Celine Houget edited the text and graphics, and Laurie Brown prepared the Web versions.

Susan Grad
Acting Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics
June 2003