About one in five workers over the age of 50 are self-employed, and this rate increases with age: About half of workers over the age of 80 work for themselves. Using nationally representative data from the Health and Retirement Study and other sources, Dr. Halvorsen pursues projects related to the human, social, and financial capital of self-employed older adults, as well as the barriers, risks, and opportunities related to this precarious—yet potentially rewarding—type of work.
- About one in five workers over the age of 50 work for themselves, and this rate increases with age.
- Older men are more likely to be self-employed than older women.
- The diversity of self-employed older adults increases with age, indicating that key social safety net programs—such as Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare—protect against the risks of self-employment.
- Among Americans ages 50 to 70, a diverse group of people are highly interested in becoming entrepreneurs, counter to the less diverse group of people who actually become entrepreneurs. This raises the need to better investigate and address disparities in entrepreneurial opportunities later in life.
- Halvorsen, C. J., & Morrow-Howell, N. (2017). A conceptual framework on self-employment in later life: Toward a research agenda. Work, Aging and Retirement, 3(4), 313–324. https://doi.org/10.1093/workar/waw031
- Halvorsen, C. J. (2021). How self-employed older adults differ by age: Evidence and implications from the Health and Retirement Study. The Gerontologist, 61(5), 763–774. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnaa132
- Halvorsen, C. J. (2018, November 10). Why we need to be honest about the risks of entrepreneurship. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90260337/the-risks-of-starting-a-new-business-without-a-safety-net
- Halvorsen, C. J. (2019, July 9). How to fix racial disparities in entrepreneurship Over 50. Next Avenue. https://www.nextavenue.org/fix-racial-disparities-in-entrepreneurship-over-50
- Halvorsen, C. J., & Chen, Y.-C. (2019). The diversity of interest in later-life entrepreneurship: Results from a nationally representative survey of Americans aged 50 to 70. PLOS ONE, 14(6), e0217971. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217971
- Halvorsen, C. J., & James, J. B. (2020). Three fast facts: Self-employment trends among older Americans (Self-Employment Brief No. 1). Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. https://dlib.bc.edu/islandora/object/bc-ir%3A108936