Marital Status Differences in Working Life after Age 50: A sex-stratified analysis

TitleMarital Status Differences in Working Life after Age 50: A sex-stratified analysis
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsWarner, DF
Date Published2004
UniversityThe Pennsylvania State University
CityUnited States -- Pennsylvania
KeywordsAdult children, Demographics, Employment and Labor Force, Healthcare

Although retirement is a prominent feature of the modern life course, prior research has largely focused on the experiences of men or married couples. However, rising female labor force participation and decreasing marital stability means that many women are entering later-life with substantial work histories, but also without the economic protections of marriage. Men too are increasingly entering later-life nonmarried. Given the rapidly aging population, it is imperative to understand the implications of these demographic shifts for the organization of working life in the later-years for men and women. Drawing on data from the 1992-2000 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this research expands on prior studies by examining marital status differences in working life and retirement for both men and women. The HRS is a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized adults over the age of 50. Population-based working life tables are estimated using discrete-time hazard models. Results indicate that older men are more likely to be in the labor force than are women, due to both lower exit risks and higher reentry risks. Among men, the married have longer working lives and lower retirement risks than divorced, widowed and never married men. Never married men have the shortest working life. The opposite is true for women; married women have shorter working lives and higher risks of retirement than divorced widowed and never married women. Divorced and never married women spend the most remaining years in the labor force. Both nonmarried men and women spend more years disabled than the married. Differences in socioeconomic resources, primarily, mediate some, but not all, of the effect of divorced and widowhood on the risk of retirement for women. Differences in socioeconomic resources, health and current family context do not account for the higher risk of retirement for divorced, widowed and never married men relative to the married. In fact, if nonmarried men had the characteristics of married men, they would be even more likely to retire.

Endnote Keywords


Endnote ID


Short TitleMarital Status Differences in Working Life after Age 50: A sex-stratified analysis
Citation Key6145