How Does Women Working Affect Social Security Replacement Rates?

Source: April Yanyuan Wu,Nadia S. Karamcheva,Alicia H. Munnell and Patrick Purcell, Issue Brief, IB#13-10, July 2013

The brief’s key findings are:
* For married households, the amount of pre-retirement income replaced by Social Security depends on the labor force activity of both spouses.
– At the high end, couples with a non-working spouse get the replacement rate from the worker’s benefit and from a spousal benefit.
– At the low end, couples with two working spouses and identical earnings get the same replacement rate as an individual worker.
– In the middle, couples see their replacement rate fall as the lower earner’s wages rise.
* As women go to work, replacement rates decline.
– They have dropped from 47 percent for those born early in the Depression to 42 percent for Early Boomers.
– By the time that Generation Xers retire, replacement rates are projected to fall by an additional 5 percentage points.
* In addition to women working, Social Security’s rising Full Retirement Age has also contributed to falling replacement rates.