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Among Americans ages 65 and older, 19% were employed in 2023, according to findings from Pew Research Center, and that share has nearly doubled compared to 35 years ago (11%). The growing population of older adults, as well as the availability of less strenuous jobs, has contributed to this growth, bringing the total number of workers ages 65 and older to about 11 million — a far cry from what it was in the mid-80s. 

The wages of this age group have also almost doubled, growing from $13 an hour in 1987 to $22 an hour in 2022. Older employees accounted for 7% of all wages and salaries paid by U.S. employers last year, a big leap from 2% in 1987.

Other notable findings about this older group of workers include:

  • More than 60% are employed full time, up from 47% in 1987.
  • Nearly half (44%) hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 18% reported in 1987.
  • The gender gap among older workers has been steadily shrinking — since 1964, the share of women in the older workforce has increased from 30% to 46%. The men’s share has decreased from 67% to 54% within that time frame.
  • Almost one in four (23% of) older workers are self-employed, compared to just 10% of workers between the ages of 25 and 64.
  • Also compared to younger workers, older employees are more likely to be satisfied with their job and find it enjoyable and fulfilling, and they’re less likely to say their job is stressful.

See the full report to learn more about current trends among older workers.