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Will People Be Healthy Enough to Work Longer?

  • Alicia H. Munnell
  • Mauricio Soto
  • Alex Golub-Sass

If Americans continue to retire at age 63, a great many will risk income shortfalls especially at older ages. Because work directly increases current income, Social Security benefits, retirement saving, and decreases the length of retirement, a logical solution would be to increase the age of retirement. But are Americans healthy enough to work longer? Using the National Health Interview Study, this paper shows that healthy life expectancy increased by about three years over 1970-2000 for the average 50-year old man. This increase is largely the result of men moving up the education ladder, with minimal increases within educational groups. Moreover, major disparities in healthy life expectancy remain between those in the bottom and top quartiles of the population. And these disparities mean that a vulnerable portion of the population – perhaps those who most need to work longer – might not be able to extend their work lives.

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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/will-people-be-healthy-enough-to-work-longer-2/
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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2008-11.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision: Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2008-11
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