Americans continue to get older, and increasingly, more elderly Americans are choosing to stay in the workforce. In 2010 about 16% of seniors remained a part of the workforce, up substantially from 1991 when it was only 12%.
Of those seniors who remain in the workforce there are more men then there are women. About 21% of the senior male population remained in the workforce in 2010, while 8.4% of senior women did the same. Both of those populations, however, showed a significant increase in the percentages of those who stayed working from previous decades.
The numbers are even greater when you consider seniors only between the ages of 65 and 69. In 1990 about 22% of those workers remained working, while in 2010 that percentage had increased to 31%. About one out of every eight Americans is 65 or older, and the United States Census Bureau reports that by 2040 that number will reach one in five.
Researchers point to several possible reasons why the surge in elderly workers has taken place over the past decades. While anecdotal evidence suggests that many people need to keep working because their finances have been hurt strongly by the recent recession, other research points to people who are choosing to stay in the workforce because they enjoy what they do.
Economic forecasts call for continued slow growth over the coming years, and more seniors remaining in the workforce may make it more difficult for younger workers to find employment.