Journal Article

Cohort trends in working life expectancies at age 50 in the United States: a register-based study using social security administration data

Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 1–30 (2020)

Abstract

Objectives:
Little is known about the length of working life, even though it is a key indicator for policy-makers. In this paper, we study how the length of working life at age 50 has developed in the U.S. from a cohort perspective.
Methods:
We use a large longitudinal sample of U.S. Social Security register data that covers close to 1.7 million individuals of the cohorts born from 1920 to 1965. For all of these cohorts, we study the employment trajectories and working life expectancy at age 50 by gender and nativity (native-born/foreign-born). For the cohorts with employment trajectories that are only incompletely observed, we borrow information from older cohorts to predict their working life expectancy.
Results:
The length of working life has been increasing for the native-born males and females, and the younger cohorts worked longer than the older cohorts. However, working life expectancy might soon peak, and then stall. The gap in working life expectancy between the native-born and the foreign-born has increased over time, although latter group might be able to catch up in the coming years.

Keywords: USA, expectation of working life, inequality, length of working life
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.