Retirement statistics, like any other statistics, can be extremely
boring. However, you need to take note of these statistics in planning
your own retirement.
Fairly comprehensive retirement statistics are available in the United States of America. I personally think it represents a trend that is repeated, more or less, in all other countries.
The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College did some excellent analysis and summaries on the statistics available in the United States of America. Below, I try to present these retirement statistics in a more readable format.
Aged 55 and older, and not in the workforce?
According to 2007 Current Population Survey data, among the 42,207,000 persons aged 55 and over who are currently not in the labor force, 98% report that they "do not want a job now", compared to 2% who indicate that they do want a job.
Aged 50 and older, and in the workforce?
According to 2008 analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the number of men aged 50 and older in the workforce from 2005-2010 is 21,114,000. Of those 21.3% are projected to exit from the workforce during that time period.
The number of women aged 50 and older in the workforce from 2005-2010 is 18,119,000. Of those 23.2% are projected to exit from the workforce during that time period. (Table 4, p. 46)
How many working – how many retired?
According to a 2010 analysis of Current Population Survey data by EBRI, 35% of persons aged 65-69 were working in 2008, while 53% were retired. Among those aged 70-74, 21% were working and 70% were retired. By age 75-79, 13% were working and 80% were retired. (Fig. 6, p. 17)
The typical retiree?
According to a 2009 Pew survey, "83% of all adults 65 and older say they are retired - a group that includes some who work at least part time - while 5% describe themselves as semi-retired. The typical retiree is 75 years old and retired at the age of 62.
Among those who say they have retired, 62% retired by age 65. Older adults who have not yet retired but expect to do so someday are, on average, 70 years old and plan to retire in three years." (p. 89)
How happy are retirees?
According to a 2009 Pew survey, "full-time retirees and working older adults are about as likely to say they are very or pretty happy with their lives (75% vs. 70%)."(p. 88)
According to a 2008 AARP report on the results of a survey of adults aged 55-75, "74% of respondents say they are happier in retirement than when they were working. There is a significant difference in agreement with this statement between respondents in households with less than $25,000 in income (61%) compared to 83% of those in households with incomes of $50,000 or more." (p. 10)
The older Boomers?
According to a 2009 survey comparing the oldest and youngest boomers, "fifty percent of Oldest Boomers are working full-time. Only about one-fifth (19%) are fully retired. One in ten (11%) are on Disability and 9% are currently collecting Social Security retirement benefits. Only 2% report they are looking for work." (p. 7-8)
Average age of retired worker?
According to a 2009 analysis by the Social Security Administration, "the average age of retired workers has changed little over time, rising from 72.4 in 1960 to 73.9 in 2008."
Aged 70 and older rate of employment?
According to a 2008 analysis of Current Population Survey data, "among both men and women aged 70 and older, rates of employment rose slightly between 1990 and 2008. In March 2008, 14% of men aged 70 and older were employed, compared with 10% in 1990. Among women aged 70 and older, 8% were employed in March 2008, compared with 5% in March 1990." (p. 5)
According to a 2008 analysis of Current Population Survey data, men 65 to 69 were about six percentage points less likely to be retired in 2004 than in 1992. A similar analysis of HRS data showed that between 1998 and 2004, the fraction of 65 to 67 year old men who were completely retired declined by 3.1 percentage points (p. 4)
Median age at retirement?
According to 2008 analysis of Social Security data, in the 2000-05 period, the median age at exit [retirement] was 61.6 for men and 60.5 for women, a decline from the medians in the 1995-2000 period of 0.4 and 0.9 for men and women, respectively. The median age at exit estimated for the 2005-10 period, based on the labor force data for 2010 projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2007, indicates no change for men, but a large reversal for women (from age 60.5 to age 62.0). (p. 43)
Reason for not working?
According to a 2007 Census Bureau report, for nonworkers 45 years and older, health and retirement were the dominant reasons for not working. The proportion of nonworkers listing either of these reasons ranged from 51 percent for 45- to 54-yearolds, to 94 percent for people 65 years and over. Retirement was the reason given by 86 percent of nonworkers 65 years and over. (p. 5)
According to a 2007 Census Bureau report, among persons aged 55-64 who were not working in 2004, 32.4% reported chronic illness or disability as the reason for not working, while 42.8% reported that they were retired. Among those 65 and over who were not working, 85.9% reported that they were retired, compared to 7.4% who said the chronic illness or disability was the reason. (table 2, p. 5)
Why take note of Retirement Statistics?
It is increasingly more difficult to predict the future. Retirement statistics give you a picture of what you might expect on average. Take note of the above retirement statistics and use it in your own retirement planning.
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