Self-Employment and the 50+ Population

AARP: “A disproportionate share of the self-employed in the United States are middle-aged and older workers. Although many older workers have been self-employed for much or all of their working lives, some move into self-employment later in their careers, often as a planned part of the retirement process. Despite the importance of self-employment in the labor market behavior of older workers, it is a relatively understudied area. This AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper by RAND researchers Lynn A. Karoly and Julie Zissimopoulos aims to fill that gap by using two principal data sources — the Current Population Survey and the Health and Retirement Study — to estimate the trends in self-employment rates over time, to compare the characteristics of the self-employed with their wage and salary counterparts, and to identify the factors that determine who becomes self-employed later in their careers. Although the primary focus is on age 50+ workers, the research also provides a benchmark by examining trends and characteristics for the workforce as a whole.”


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