Countries Where Seniors Are Most Likely to Work in Retirement

Most people in Europe retire before age 65, but in the rest of the world citizens work until significantly older ages

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Don’t want to work after age 65? I hope you live in Europe. Less than 10 percent of employees in European Union countries continue to work after age 65, according to a report released yesterday by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the U.S. Census Bureau. The proportion of people working after age 65 in the European Union ranged from just 2 percent of older men and 1 percent of women in France to 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women in Poland in 2006. Most older people in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are also able to retire by age 65. In Australia and Canada, just 12 percent of men work after age 65, as do 17 percent of New Zealand men. In the United States 20 percent of men and 12 percent of women age 65 and older go to work each day.

In general, countries with high gross national products have less older people in the workforce than low income countries, NIA found. Social Security and pension programs also allow citizens to retire with at least some financial security. In most developing counties one-third or more of the senior citizen population works due to financial necessity. Seniors in Africa generally work the longest, ranging from 73 percent of Uganda men age 65 and older in the workforce to 26 percent of seniors in South Africa. In Latin America, about 20 percent of Uruguay workers remain employed late into their 6th decade as do 67 percent of employees in Guatemala. Slightly less than half a Mexican employees work during the traditional retirement years. Many people also work into old age is Asia ranging from 22 percent of seniors in Singapore and Turkey to 66 percent of older citizens in Bangladesh. Japan comes in the middle with 29 percent of senior citizens working.

From the 1950s to the mid-1980s, the retirement age for men in developed countries gradually declined. Then, the number of people working in their 50s and 60s began increasing in the 1990s. In the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union nations, more seniors were working in 2006 than in 1994. The United States, New Zealand, and the European Union have also seen an increase in the number of seniors working part time, especially among older women, due to a combination of the incidence of a disability, lifestyle choices, and economic necessity.

For more information, see:

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