New Report Documents the Gender Gap in Retirement Income

A new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security finds that although most Americans struggle to adequately save for retirement, women face unique challenges in saving, largely stemming from a gender pay gap that persists into a retirement wealth gap.

The data shows that older women receive approximately 83 percent of the retirement income that older men receive – nearly identical to the gender pay gap for American women. Specifically, in 2016, women age 65 and older had a median household retirement income of $47,244 or 83 percent of median household income for men, which stood at $57,144.

Some 22 percent of women over the age of 65 had incomes of more than $80,000 compared to 30 percent of men. In contrast, 19 percent of women over the age of 65 had incomes of less than $20,000. The figure for men was 13 percent.

Women experience a steep decline in income past age 80. The report notes that caregiving, especially spousal caregiving, has a strong effect on retirement preparedness, and this particularly impacts women as they remain much more likely to provide caregiving than men.

The report concludes that “going forward, policymakers should consider how to update features of the retirement savings infrastructure to meet the needs of women in the 21st century. As Congress considers whether and how to expand Social Security, adjusting the spousal benefit, and providing caregiving credits in Social Security should be priorities.”

The report was co-authored by Joelle Saad-Lessler, an associate industry professor of economics in the School of Business at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D., all in economics from Columbia University.

The full report, Still Shortchanged: An Update on Women’s Retirement Preparedness, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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