Data Tracker

More California seniors work full-time into their late 60s and early 70s

By Phillip Reese -

A growing proportion of Californian seniors are working into their late 60s or early 70s, a sign that many have not saved enough for retirement, according to a Sacramento Bee review of new census data.

About 14.3 percent of Californians between 65 and 75 worked full time in 2014, up from 7.5 percent in 2000. As baby boomers become seniors, that translates into almost 440,000 senior citizens working full time last year in California, more than double the number from 2000.

A few factors likely fuel that jump. First, the federal government gradually has raised the age when seniors can receive their full Social Security benefits. That age was 65 in 2000; it now sits at 66, and will rise to 67 by the end of the next decade. (Even so, the number of Californians 67 and older working full time has doubled in the last 15 years.)

Economics also likely plays a role. About 140,000 California seniors working full time earned $30,000 or less in 2014, the census figures show. And roughly 30 percent of U.S. households with members age 55 or older have zero retirement savings, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Others simply choose to keep working. About 95,000 senior citizens in California worked full time and earned $100,000 or more last year, census figures show.

The most common jobs for working seniors last year were business manager, CEO, administrative assistant, lawyer and retail sales clerk, census figures show.

The state’s largest urban areas are driving the trend. Portions of the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego metropolitan areas have the highest concentrations of seniors continuing to work full time. In the Sacramento region, the areas with the highest proportion of working seniors are Citrus Heights, western Roseville and central Sacramento.

These charts show the trend of seniors working longer in California.


Source: US Census Bureau | Minnesota Population Center | Click here to see graphic if using the Bee's mobile app.

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Note: An earlier version of this story slightly overcounted seniors working by including some seniors who did not work year round. The text and charts have been updated to reflect an apples to apples comparison.