Magazine article USA TODAY

Trouble Ahead for Retiring Boomers

Magazine article USA TODAY

Trouble Ahead for Retiring Boomers

Article excerpt

Although baby boomers generally are better off than previous generations, the enormous inequalities among their ranks mean many will struggle with declining health, poverty, and a lack of much-needed family networks as they age, maintain sociologists from Duke University, Durham, N.C.

One of the key findings of their study is that, far from being the homogenous Ozzie-and-Harriet kids of boomer myth, the generation born between 1946 and 1964 is incredibly diverse.

At midlife, for example, boomers have the highest wage inequality of any recent generation. Late boomers--born between 1956 and 1964--have the highest levels of poverty since the generation born before World War I. One in 10 lives in poverty at middle age--and inequality persists, even in this generation, which is the first to come of age after the Civil Rights era. The researchers found that baby-boomer-age blacks are no better off relative to whites than were their parents and grandparents.

As the oldest baby boomers turn 60 this year, these inequalities can be expected to persist--and even increase. "Given that the baby boom generation is now more unequal than others at the same ages, we can expect them to be more unequal in old age than previous generations," surmises study co-author Angela O'Rand. …

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