If you have grand visions of retiring from the workforce as soon as you’re eligible to, you might be forced to rethink your strategy — particularly if you live in a larger city. According to a recent analysis of U.S. Census Data conducted by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, seniors in many major metropolitan areas are more likely to continue working past the age of 65 than those older folks living in other areas of the nation.
Although the average retirement age in the U.S. is 63, it’s clear that many seniors are volunteering or are forced to continue working well past that time. According to the report, roughly 12% of U.S. counties with at least 6,000 residents include at least 21% of their seniors who are either currently working or are actively seeking jobs. So despite the fact that 22% of new hires leave their jobs within the first 45 days, many seniors are looking to stick around. Of those counties that had a higher proportion of seniors working or seeking work, roughly 25% are located in the Northeast, Virginia, or Maryland, with nearly 15% of those counties being located within 70 miles of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, or Washington, D.C. By and large, jobs in those areas were centered around government, law, finance, and academia. And although Florida is known for its senior population, it had one of the lower senior labor force populations in 2017, a category that also included Kentucky, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, and West Virginia.
But a separate study suggests that many seniors continue to work in the southern U.S., as well. A recent Provision Living report found that the top 10 locations with the most seniors currently working include several cities in Texas, like Plano, Austin, Garland, Dallas, and Irving. In Plano, seniors in the workforce represent 25.4% of the total senior population. Nashville, Tennessee and Durham, North Carolina also made the list, along with Minneapolis, Anchorage, and the nation’s capital. Interestingly, the largest cities (like New York and Chicago) were not among the top 50 locations within this study.
The results aren’t necessarily surprising, seeing as the percentage of individuals in the workforce who are over the age of 65 has doubled since 1985. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that approximately 30% of seniors aged 65 to 74 will continue to work by 2026. The reasons for this may be varied, but the increasing costs associated with healthcare may be a main concern for many seniors. Since four out of five older people require one or more daily medications, many seniors are forced to stay in the workforce in order to afford the treatment they need. Higher costs of living, lower wages, longer lifespans, or the mere desire to stay active could also contribute to senior citizen prevalence in the workforce.
That isn’t to say that you’ll be unable to retire if you live in one of these cities, of course. But if you live in an area that’s cost-prohibitive and you find yourself without enough saved for retirement, chances are good that you may have to work a bit longer than you intended in order to live comfortably.