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Older workers: more people and more earnings

January 17, 2024

Not only are older workers increasing in number, but their earning power has grown in recent decades. According to a new report released by the Pew Research Center, roughly one-in-five Americans ages 65 and older (19%) were employed in 2023 – nearly double the share of those who were working 35 years ago. 

In 2022, the typical worker age 65 or older earned $22 per hour, up from $13 in 1987. Earnings for younger workers haven’t grown as much. As a result, the wage gap between older workers and those ages 25 to 64 has narrowed significantly.

The study also shows that ,continuing a longstanding trend, older workers are more than twice as likely as younger workers to be self-employed. “Taking all these factors into account – more older adults in the workforce, working longer hours with higher levels of education and greater pay per hour – older workers’ overall contribution to the labor force has grown quite a bit”, the authors highlight. 

In 2023, they accounted for 7% of all wages and salaries paid by U.S. employers. That is more than triple the share in 1987 (2%). In addition, another Pew Research Center survey found that workers ages 65 and older are more satisfied with their jobs overall than younger workers. They’re also more likely to say they find their job enjoyable and fulfilling all or most of the time, and less likely to say they find it stressful.

Source: Pew Research Center