September 15, 2009

Older Workers Want to Work

54%

A majority (54%) of workers ages 65 and older say the main reason they work is that they want to.

Attitudes about work reflect the growing desire of an aging but healthy population to stay active well into the later years of life. A nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project finds that a majority (54%) of workers ages 65 and older say the main reason they work is that they want to. Just 17% say the main reason is that they need the paycheck. An additional 27% say they’re motivated by a mix of desire and need. When asked to identify specific reasons for working, older workers emphasize psychological and social factors: “to feel useful”, “to give myself something to do”, “to be with other people.” Younger and middle-aged workers are much more inclined to cite classic pocketbook considerations: “to support myself and my family”, “to live independently”, “to qualify for retirement benefits”, “to receive health care benefits.” Read More