Here’s Why More Americans Over 65 Are Working

( – Over the last 30 years, there’s been a major change in how Americans see their working lives. For many people, the idea of working to age 65 and then retiring isn’t in their plans anymore. New data shows why this is happening. Not only are older Americans much more likely to still be working than before, but they’re also earning more money.

On December 14, the Pew Research Center released a new study into the US workforce. It found that 19% of US adults aged 65 or older are still working. Last year, the average older worker was earning $22 an hour, not far behind what 25- to 64-year-olds make, and that’s quite impressive when you consider it also includes part-time workers.

Older people continuing to work is good news for the economy. We have an aging population, and a growing number of retirees would put a lot of pressure on younger workers who have to pay for social security. If people keep working instead of retiring, that pressure falls, and so does the need for immigrant workers. Technology is also making it easier for older people to earn a living; there are more jobs that can be done at home or behind a desk, and senior citizens are often just as capable of doing these as younger people.

The rise in older workers began in the 1990s and peaked just before the 2020 pandemic. It fell slightly after that but has now recovered to just 1% below its pre-pandemic high and is nearly double what it was in 1987. The odds are it will climb even higher; older workers have qualifications and experience that can boost their chances of being hired. That, combined with changes in Social Security, makes working and earning an income an attractive option for older people who want to continue enjoying life.

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