With most seniors out of the workforce and living on fixed incomes or retirement savings, the rapidly rising cost of living the past two years has put a financial strain on older households.
Beyond inflation, however, seniors need more money than ever to live comfortably in retirement. And while they are living longer, they also face greater health issues than the rest of the population, which comes at a high cost. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that per-capita healthcare spending for seniors is nearly three times as high as that for the working-age population.
Faced with these circumstances, Americans 65 and older are staying in the workforce longer. Researchers note that in 2000, just 4 percent worked full-time, while in 2021, 8.6 percent did. And the U.S. has nearly 23 million more seniors now than in 2000 due to the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, meaning millions more are choosing to extend their careers.
Working seniors have benefited from steadily rising wages as they have become a larger part of the workforce. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the median wage for a full-time working senior has grown from $41,715 in 2000 to $55,000 in 2021. And within the last decade, the median wage for seniors surpassed the median wage for the rest of the working-age population, whose wages have largely been stagnant. Today, the typical full-time working senior earns $3,000 more annually than the typical worker aged 16 to 64.er into life. Analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau found that seniors employed full-time in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area earn an adjusted median wage of $54,116 annually, compared to the national median for working seniors of $55,000