Whether it’s due to delaying retirement or “unretiring” and going back to work, more than one in five seniors nationwide are still participating in the workforce.
And that number is expected to grow within the coming years.
Specifically, among adults ages 65 to 74, the workforce participation rate is expected to grow from 25.8% to 30.7% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Factors driving this growth include seniors opting to hold off on retirement plans and retirees opting to go back to work. Retirement rates surged during the pandemic as many left the workforce, but now a counter trend of “unretiring” is gaining traction as many retirees and seniors have decided to get back into the workforce due to personal or financial reasons.
We decided to take a closer look at where seniors are the most active within the workforce by analyzing senior employment data in 170 of the most populated cities across the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Nationwide, over one in five (21%) of seniors aged 65 and over are still participating in the workforce, which is more than 11.8 million people.
- Among the top five cities, two are located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area: Alexandria (ranked No. 1) and Washington, D.C. (ranked No. 5).
- Elsewhere, within the top 20 cities, three cities are located in the Dallas metropolitan area: Dallas, Texas (No. 3), Plano, Texas (No. 6), Arlington, Texas (No. 11) and Frisco, Texas (No. 17).
Which cities have the most working seniors?
Two cities within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area top the list of cities with the highest percentage of employed seniors.
Alexandria, Virginia, located just 8 miles south of the Nation’s Capital, claims the No. 1 spot in the nation for cities with the largest proportion of working seniors. Overall, more than one-third (36.8%) of the city’s senior population remains engaged in the workforce. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., 29.4% of those aged 65 and over are still working, which is an increase from 27.7% five years prior.
Several cities within the Dallas metro area also dominate the list of top 20 cities with the most working seniors. In the city of Dallas, 30% of its senior population are employed, which is more than 44,000 seniors. Nearby Plano, Texas, follows closely with 28.9% of its seniors in the workforce. Arlington, Texas ranks 11th nationwide with 27.1%, while Frisco, Texas ranks 17th with a workforce participation rate of 26.2%.
Although “The Sunshine State” is known as a retirement hotspot, one Florida city appears to be bucking the trend. Tallahassee ranks 2nd on the list, with 30.9% of its senior population still choosing to participate in the workforce.
Top five cities with the most working seniors
#1. Alexandria, VA
- Total senior population: 19,750
- Employed seniors: 7,270
- Percent of senior population who are employed: 36.8%
#2. Tallahassee, FL
- Total senior population: 24,460
- Employed seniors: 7,570
- Percent of senior population who are employed: 30.9%
#3. Dallas, TX
- Total senior population: 146,297
- Employed seniors: 44,332
- Percent of senior population who are employed: 30.3%
#4. Irvine, CA
- Total senior population: 31,905
- Employed seniors: 9,639
- Percent of senior population who are employed: 30.2%
#5. Washington, D.C.
- Total senior population: 85,615
- Employed seniors: 25,188
- Percent of senior population who are employed: 29.4%
Which occupations have the oldest workers?
Along with looking at where seniors are working, we also analyzed which occupations have the oldest workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, agricultural occupations have the highest median age. Specifically, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers have the highest median age of any occupation, which is 56.2.
Elsewhere, jobs like shuttle and school bus drivers as well as judges, building inspectors, realtors, and religious workers all have a median age above 50 years old.
Deciding when to retire is one of the most important financial and personal decisions that workers can make. Before making the leap, make sure you have factored in your savings, social security benefits, spending habits, economic volatility and how your social life will change after retirement.
To determine our ranking, we examined the percentage of seniors aged 65 and over who were actively employed within the last 12 months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Our analysis included data from 170 of the nation’s most populous cities. Specifically, we looked at the total senior population aged 65 and the number of seniors aged 65 and over who have worked within the last 12 months. In order to determine the occupations with the oldest workers, we analyzed employed persons by detailed occupation and age via the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2021
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