Project Summary

By 2050, 24% of the U.S. labor force is projected to be made up of workers aged 55 years and older, up from 13% in 2000. The Older Workers’ Health and Well-being Study was developed in response to this aging workforce. This study focuses on workers aged 50 and older through analysis of six waves of data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative, longitudinal, and biennial panel study of Americans aged 50 years and older. We will investigate the associations between workplace benefits and policies and older workers’ health, mental health, and enjoyment in work over time.


This project will use the gendered life course framework to conduct a population-level study on how potential protective factors—access to employer-provided health insurance, access to workplace retirement savings programs, and the ability to reduce hours—contribute to older workers’ health and well-being. Our study is one of the first to use the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study’s workplace characteristics variables to examine how key benefits and policies influence older workers’ health and well-being.

Project Lead


Facts & Figures

Researchers plan to analyze:





employed adults aged 50+



Project Support

Funding provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

This project is part of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, and Well-being. Dissemination and communication partners include the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.