Labor Force Participation and Work Status of People 65 Years and Older

Source: Braedyn Kromer and David Howard, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Briefs, ACSBR/11-09, January 2013

Some people of traditional working age (16 to 64 years old) dream of the day when they can retire and pursue other interests, while others may plan to continue working past traditional retirement age. Most assume they will be making this choice around the age of 65. Over the past 20 years, the labor force participation rate of people 65 years and older has increased, particularly during the past decade. As with all age groups, the increase in labor force participation of women has been a driving factor for this overall trend. …

Findings include:
– In 1990, 12.1 percent of the population 65 years and older was in the labor force, compared with 75.6 percent for 16- to 64-year-olds during that time.
– Men 65 years and older experienced a 3.2 percentage point increase in labor force participation between 1990 and 2010, increasing from 17.6 percent to 20.8 percent.
– In 2011, the national labor force participation rate for those 65 years and older was 16.2 percent, compared with a labor force participation rate of 73.5 percent for 16- to 64-year-olds.