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Entrepreneurship and the Older Worker—Fact Sheet

February 2010—Workers aged 50+ are more likely than their younger counterparts to be self-employed or small business owners.

Findings include:

  • Workers 50 and older are more likely than younger workers to be independent, self employed workers (17% of older workers vs. 12 % of younger workers).
  • Older workers are also less likely than their younger counterparts to be wage and salaried employees who work for someone else (74% vs. 83%).
  • From 2007 – 2008 workers ages 54-64, experienced the largest increase in entrepreneurial activity, making it the age group with the highest entrepreneurial activity rate.
  • Only 11% of small-business owners in 2008 said they planned to retire and stop working in their businesses in the long run: 40% “will continue to work as long as their health allows,” while 47% will “eventually plan to cut back on the work they do, but maintain their involvement in their businesses.”

After retirement or a job layoff, some older workers plan to start a business or work for themselves, but do not credit the inability to find employment with doing so. However, one study reported that 23% of older workers who had been laid off and could not find a job considered starting their own business.

» Read more findings in Entrepreneurship and the Older Worker—Fact Sheet
Fact sources include: Kauffman Foundation , Gallup, and the Sloan Center on Aging & Work.

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