Work history and U.S. elders' transitions into poverty

D. K. McLaughlin, L. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Poverty risks among elders are shaped in critical ways by their work history, demographic characteristics, current marital status, and residential context. Using 25 years of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we combined past occupation and work history of elders and their spouses with information on current marital status and residence to estimate discrete time event history models of first transitions into poverty after reaching age 55. Education, work history, and preretirement wages contributed to men's and some women's probability of becoming poor. Work history remained an important predictor of transitions into poverty, even after controlling for preretirement wages and human capital. Metropolitan residence was associated with a lower probability of making transitions into poverty. This residential difference was not appreciably attenuated in three of four elderly subgroups after measures of work history, preretirement wages, current life events, and demographic characteristics of the elders were included in the models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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