The Economic Status of Elderly Divorced Women

42 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008

See all articles by Steven J. Haider

Steven J. Haider

Michigan State University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alison Jacknowitz

American University - Kogod School of Business; American University - School of Public Affairs

Robert F. Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center

Date Written: May 1, 2003

Abstract

Over the past 35 years the gap in poverty between divorced and married women increased from 2:1 (in 1967) to 4:1 (in 2001). Despite high poverty rates, divorced women are no less educated than married women. Labor market earnings are a particularly important source of income for elderly divorced women; Divorced women's level of labor force participation is comparable to that of married men; however, retirement of divorced women experiences no spike at ages 62 and 65, as is the case for married men. Divorced women are quite distinct from separated women, with the latter much less educated, lower income, and minority; grouping these two populations together, as is often done, is a mistake. Initial analyses suggest that the reduction in the requirement on length of marriage from 20 to 10 years to receive Social Security divorcee benefits had little or no effect on alleviating divorcee poverty. A large number of questions remain unanswered, but given the speed at which the cohorts with high prevalence of divorce are approaching old age, the time is now to address these questions.

Suggested Citation

Haider, Steven J. and Jacknowitz, Alison and Schoeni, Robert F., The Economic Status of Elderly Divorced Women (May 1, 2003). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. WP 2003-046, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1090901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1090901

Steven J. Haider (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Alison Jacknowitz

American University - Kogod School of Business ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20816-8044
United States

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Robert F. Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bschoeni/

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