urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Event -- The Second Awkward Age: Life at 55 and Beyond

Thursday, March 4, 2010
9:00-10:30 a.m. ET

Listen to the event

Audio Recording


Scott Bass
Scott Bass, provost, American University; founding director, Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts–Boston

Dalmer Hoskins
Dalmer Hoskins, senior adviser, Social Security Administration; former secretary general, International Social Security Association

Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson, senior fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute

Sandra Nathan
Sandra Nathan, vice president, workforce development, National Council on Aging

Ruth Wooden
Ruth Wooden, president, Public Agenda (moderator)

For many of the 36 million men and women age 55-64, the decade or so preceding retirement -- the period before Medicare and Social Security generally become available -- is less the glide path toward tranquility and more a roiling journey through economic and workforce instability.

Unemployment rates reached record highs in 2009 for men and women 55-plus. Older African Americans, Hispanics, and adults with limited education, says a new Urban Institute report, were especially likely to find themselves unemployed. And older adults who lost their jobs spent more time out of work than their younger counterparts.

Meanwhile, disability rates increase steadily as people approach retirement, roughly doubling between 55 and 64. For those who become disabled, the share falling into poverty more than doubles, climbing to 3 in 10 for single disabled adults.

Be part of the discussion as a panel of experts explores the labor force, economic, health, and identity issues facing Americans approaching retirement. We’ll look at the diversity of this population and developmental factors affecting them, successful aging, the special circumstances of older minority men and women, and policy prescriptions that could improve older Americans’ economic security.

- Bios
- Johnson: How Did Older Workers Fare in 2009? (executive summary)
- Johnson: Older Adults’ Labor Force Participation since 1993
- Johnson: Disability Just Before Retirement Often Leads to Poverty
- Bass: Productive Aging: Historical Context, Opportunities, and Challenges
- Bass: Selected Readings
- Yarrow: Our 'Posterity Deficit'
- Yarrow: The New 'Awkward Age'
- Yarrow: Sustainability and Intergenerational Solidarity

Other resources:
- How Did Older Workers Fare in 2009?
- Unemployment Statistics on Older Americans
- RetirementPolicy.org

At the Urban Institute
2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.

For information about the event’s sponsors, please see
• Urban Institute, www.urban.org
• Public Agenda, www.publicagenda.org

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