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Center Publication

Retirement Prospects for the Racially and Ethnically Diverse Older Adult Labor Force — Fact Sheet

compiled by Betty Cohen

 

July 2013—The older adult labor force is racially and ethnically diverse; about one quarter of workers aged 50-64 are African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, both native- and foreign-born. These workers are more likely to be employed in physically-demanding jobs and jobs with difficult working conditions, and are more likely to have financial or caregiving responsibilities for family members.  They are less likely to have pensions or retirement savings accounts, and more likely to be counting on social security for the major portion of their retirement income.

Facts include:

  • About one quarter of all US workers aged 50–64 are African American, Asian, and Hispanic. Among workers age 55+, about 6 out of 10 are employed full time, full year, with rates slightly higher for African Americans and Hispanics (66–67%) compared to Whites (63%).  Among the foreign-born labor force, 67% are 55–64-year -olds, compared to 64% among native-born.
  • Over four in ten African Americans [aged 45+] (44%) have had to help a child pay bills or expenses in the past year and 18% have had to help a parent pay bills or expenses.  In comparison, only 8% of the general population had to help a parent with bills or expenses in the past year.
  • Among retirees age 60 and older, people of color are disproportionately likely to be low income, 31.6% of Blacks and 46.5% of Latinos are in the bottom 25% income group.  The ‘Other’ race group, which includes Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American populations, is also more likely to be low income (38%).


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