Racial disparities in income security for a cohort of aging American women

Andrea E. Willson, Melissa A. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this analysis we examine how women's family and employment choices are linked to differences in financial security as they age. Previous research has tested theories of growing inequality decreasing inequality, or maintained inequality as cohorts transition into old age. We assess these hypotheses for older women and emphasize the heterogeneity in women's experiences, particularly differences in income security among women by race. Our findings indicate that, although marriage offers women considerable financial protection, their own employment was also a key to their security and reduced the rate at which income security decayed as they entered old age. This increased the variation in outcomes relative to initial positions. Whereas marriage provided more security for white women, employment gave a greater boost to black women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1306
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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