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May 1990, Vol. 113, No. 5
Spending patterns of elderly workers and nonworkers
The Nation's population continues to grow older. Recent information from the U.S. Bureau of the Census estimates that people aged 65 and over will make up more than 23 percent of the population in 2030, up from 12 percent in 1985.1 Like other cohorts, the elderly have different spending patterns depending upon level of income and status as employed or retired. According to data from the 1986-87 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, in terms of share of expenditure and separated into three income levels (low income = less than $15,000; medium income $15,000 to $29,999; high income = $30,000 and over):
Coupled with the well-known fall in the U.S. birth rate, the aging population will cause a decline in the growth, as well as the age distribution, of the labor force. An examination of the demographic characteristics of the labor force reveals, for example, that the century-long decline in the participation rate of older people has been moderating. In fact, new labor force projections to the year 2000 show that the participation rate of women in the 55-to-74 age group will increase. Also, although participation by men in the 55-and-over age group is likely to continue to decline, the labor force separation of these men will not be as significant as it has been in years past.2
Along with the aging of the population and the changes in labor force participation rates of older people, changes are expected in the spending habits of the U.S. population. This article examines the differences in expenditures between the working and the nonworking elderly households.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 1990 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Population Estimates and Projections, Series P-25, No. 952, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
2 For an overview of labor force projections by demographic characteristics, see Howard N Fullerton, Jr. "New labor force projections, spanning 1988 to 2000," Monthly Labor Review, November 1989, pp. 3-12.
Spending by older consumers: 1980 and 1990 compared.May 1993.
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