Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women in the Baby Boom and Generation X Cohorts

By Butrica, Barbara A.; Smith, Karen E. | Social Security Bulletin, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women in the Baby Boom and Generation X Cohorts


Butrica, Barbara A., Smith, Karen E., Social Security Bulletin


Blacks, Hispanics, and divorced women have historically experienced double-digit poverty rates in retirement, and divorce and other demographic trends will increase their representation in future retiree populations. For these reasons, we might expect an increase in the proportion of economically vulnerable divorced women in the future. This article uses the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to describe the likely characteristics, work experience, Social Security benefit status, and economic well-being of future divorced women at age 70 by race and ethnicity. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having a strong history of labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. However, because divorced black and Hispanic women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, income sources, or assets, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women.

Selected Abbreviations

MINT6 Modeling Income in the Near Term, version 6

PIA primary insurance amount

SIPP Survey of Income and Program Participation

SSA Social Security Administration

SSI Supplemental Security Income

Introduction

Since the 1960s, marriage and divorce patterns have changed in dramatic and well-documented ways. Marriage and remarriage rates have plummeted, divorce rates have soared, and marriage durations have shortened (Ahlburg and De Vita 1992; DaVanzo and Rahman 1993; Goldstein 1999; Kreider and Ellis 2011; NCHS 1991; Norton and Miller 1992; Stevenson and Wolfers 2007; Tejada-Vera and Sutton 2010). These trends have more than tripled the share of women aged 65 or older who are divorced, from 3 percent to 11 percent between 1980 and 2009 (Census Bureau 1995, Table 48; 2011, Table 34). Some researchers project that in the future as many as one in five women will be divorced at retirement age (Butrica and Iams 2000; Butrica and Smith 2012).

The trends in marriage and divorce have not been experienced equally across racial groups. Sweeney and Phillips (2004) find that divorce rates stabilized for white women after the mid-1970s, but they have increased somewhat since the late 1980s for black women. In addition, researchers find that marriage will remain nearly universal for whites and Hispanics but much less so for blacks (Goldstein and Kenney 2001; Harrington Meyer, Wolf, and Himes 2005, 2006; Kreider and Ellis 2011; Norton and Miller 1992; Stevenson and Wolfers 2007). Whites are increasingly more likely than blacks to ever marry. Blacks who do marry are more likely than whites and Hispanics to divorce after the first marriage and are less likely to remarry. Among blacks, 49 percent of first marriages ultimately end in divorce, compared with 41 percent for whites and 34 percent for Hispanics (Kreider and Ellis 2011). Among married individuals in 2009, 71 percent of whites had reached their tenth anniversary, while only 59 percent of blacks had.

These trends will undoubtedly affect the composition and economic well-being of future retiree populations. Historically, older divorced women, blacks, and Hispanics have had significantly lower incomes and higher poverty rates than their counterparts. Among today's women aged 65 or older, 20 percent of those who are divorced are poor, compared with 5 percent of those who are married, 18 percent of those who never married, and 15 percent of widows. Poverty rates of older women also vary dramatically by race and ethnicity: 24 percent of blacks and 22 percent of Hispanics are poor, compared with only 11 percent of whites (SSA 2010, Table 11.1).

One-third of Social Security beneficiaries aged 65 or older depend on their benefits for 90 percent or more of their total income and nearly two-thirds of beneficiaries rely on their benefits for 50 percent or more of their total income (SSA 2010, Table 9. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women in the Baby Boom and Generation X Cohorts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.