Older Workers and Retirement

About one in five adults 65 and older are employed, and these numbers are likely to increase over the next several years. Older adults are increasingly interested in working longer, particularly part-time, and due to financial reasons, a growing proportion find they need to work longer, well past traditional retirement ages. Similarly, what it means to retire may look different over time. Rather than “fully” retiring by leaving a career job and never returning, today more than half of adults are transitioning out of full-time work completely only to return within a short time later or downshifting to part-time work before full retirement. As the nature of work and retirement changes, particularly with the ability to have more flexibility about when and where work is performed, and how many hours are worked, longer working lives are likely to become more accessible and a new model of retirement that includes paid work is emerging.

The CPC provides policy-informed research related to the economic, quality of life, psychological, and cognitive implications of longer working lives. In addition, with a growing proportion of older adults engaging in some amount of paid work after leaving their primary career jobs, the CPC seeks to provide research and leadership about the changing nature of retirement. 

Examples of Funded Projects:

“Creating a Public Resource: O*NET Job Characteristics Dataset for use with The Health and Retirement Study and Other Surveys” (October 2021-September 2022). Investigators: Brooke Helppie, Amanda Sonnega, Dawn C. Carr. Funded by the Social Security Administration ($150,000).

Recent Related Publications:

Carr, D.C., King, B. M., & Moen, P. (2022). “A Portfolio Framework for Extended Work Pathways: Leveraging the Strengths of Older Workers.” In: Fideler, E., eds. Rowman & Littlefield Handbook on Aging and Work. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538129944/The-Rowman-and-Littlefield-Handbook-on-Aging-and-Work 

Carr, D.C., Kail, B.L., & Taylor, M. (In Press). Productive aging lifestyles: A latent class analysis of work and volunteer patterns over the retirement transition. Research on Aging.

Carr, D.C., Jason, K., Taylor, M., & Washington, T. (2022). A brief report on older working caregivers: Developing a typology of work environments. The Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 77(7), 1263-1268. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab131

Calasanti, T., Carr, D. C., Homan, P., & Coan, V. (2021). Gender disparities in life satisfaction after retirement: the role of leisure, family, and finances. The Gerontologist, 61 (8), pp 1277-1286. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnab015

Carr, D.C., Matz, C., Taylor, M., & Gonzales, E. (2021) Retirement transitions in the US: Patterns and pathways from full-time work. Public Policy and Aging Research, 31(3), 71-77. https://doi.org/10.1093/ppar/prab013

Carr, D. C., Moen, P., Perry Jenkins, M., Smyer, M. (2020). Post-retirement life satisfaction and financial vulnerability: The moderating role of control. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 75(4), 849-860. Doi: 10.1093/geronb/gby105.