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Do immigrants delay retirement and social security claiming?

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  • Mary J. Lopez
  • Sita Slavov

Abstract

We use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine how immigrants’ retirement and Social Security claiming patterns compare to those of natives. We find that immigrants retire and claim Social Security at older ages than natives, an effect that is similar across immigrant ethnic groups and more pronounced among immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after age 40. We discuss and explore possible mechanisms for these differences. Hazard models suggests that these differences arise because immigrants have lower retirement and claiming hazard rates in their early 60s. We do not find evidence of an increase in the rate at which immigrants move abroad or exit the survey, compared to U.S. natives, in their late 50s through 60s, a finding that is consistent with immigrants retiring in the U.S. rather than abroad. These results are important given the rising share of older immigrants living in the U.S., and they have implications for the impact of immigration on government finances as well as the retirement security of an important subgroup of the population.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary J. Lopez & Sita Slavov, 2020. "Do immigrants delay retirement and social security claiming?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(10), pages 1105-1123, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:52:y:2020:i:10:p:1105-1123
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2019.1659492
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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