New research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that higher education pays off for women and men for all ages 50 and older, including for the oldest group studied, those 75 and older. Those with higher levels of education—meaning those with at least some education beyond high school—work more at older ages and earn more per hour at older ages, relative to those with less education. Women, however, earn less at every age and education level than men, and often earn about the same as men who are at the educational level below them. The higher hourly wages that workers with higher education earn (relative to those with no education beyond high school) decline with age for both women and men.
Societal trends, such as increased educational attainment and improvements in health; policy changes, such as increases in the retirement age for full Social Security benefits; and the declining value of assets as a share of older Americans’ incomes have changed the work behaviors and economic security of older Americans.