Americans Working Part-Time After Age 65

Washington, D.C. and Texas have the most older residents working full-time


Don’t count on full-time retirement, even after age 65. About 15.5 percent of Americans age 65 and older were still working in 2008, according to recently released data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Most of those seniors (62 percent) have cut back to part-time work. But over a third (38 percent) continue to work 35 hours a week or more during the traditional retirement years.

“Some have retired from full-time, year-round employment but continue to work part-time either to pursue other work-related interests or supplement their income from savings and Social Security,” write Census Bureau researchers Braedyn Woodring and David Howard in the report. “Others do not retire and continue to work full-time, year-round due to a lack of desire to retire or inadequate retirement savings.”

The percentage of 65-and-older workers who worked full-time ranged from 52 percent in the District of Columbia to 27 percent in Wisconsin. Other places in the U.S. where many seniors continue to work full-time include Puerto Rico (48 percent), Texas (45 percent), and Nevada (44 percent).

Men were more likely than women to have worked 35 or more hours per week over the past year. Some 42 percent of older men worked full-time in 2008, compared to 33 percent of women. The percentage of male full-time workers ranged from 60 percent in Washington, D.C. to 31 percent in Wisconsin. For women, the proportion with year-round employment ranged from 45 percent in Nevada to 21 percent in Vermont. No analysis was done to explain the differences between states, Woodring says.