NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Survey Finds Seniors Want To Work

September 2, 1999

A new survey of older Americans has found that a new vision of retirement is emerging in contrast to the leisure years promoted by marketers and developers starting in the 1950s and 1960s.

According to the survey of 803 men and women ages 50 to 75 by Civic Ventures:

  • Some 40 percent of seniors are working for pay in retirement or plan to after they retire, and 40 percent do volunteer work or plan to.
  • Some 57 percent of retirees and 62 percent of nonretirees say they have volunteered or done community service work in the last year.
  • Just 28 percent of older Americans -- 32 percent of retirees and 23 percent of nonretirees -- agree that retirement is a time for leisure and rest.
  • But 65 percent of those surveyed -- 61 percent of retirees and 70 percent of nonretirees -- agree that retirement is a time to be active and set new goals.

Some 81 percent of the respondents volunteered a specific positive impression of this stage in life, including freedom from job pressures and enjoying life. Only 19 percent volunteered a negative impression of retirement, largely due to being perceived by others as "over the hill," but also including concerns about health and financial security.

Source: Sara Rimer, "Older People Want to Work in Retirement, Survey Finds," New York Times, September 2, 1999.


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