IT Career JumpStart

Jun 15 2009   10:57PM GMT

AARP: The New Face of 50+ America



Posted by: Ed Tittel
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Hey! One of the new rites of passage in our country is joining AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons) when you turn 50. This is true, even though most of us are retiring later and later, and for some — including me — retirement often seems more like a distant fantasy than an imminent reality. As for myself, I’ve been an AARP member for nearly seven years now, as I will turn 57 in August.

The latest issue (June, 2009) of the monthly AARP Bulletin includes a couple of items of potential interest to IT professionals — at least those old enough to belong to or be interested in this organization. First, there’s an item on page 4 entitled “Men Hit Harder by Unemployment,” where they describe how men are more likely to be unemployed than women right now, especially men over age 55 (like me). Of the nearly 6 million Americans who’ve lost a job since the recession kicked off in December 2007, 80 percent are men (that’s 4 out of 5, in case you don’t like percentages). Here’s the explanation for this phenomenon, verbatim:

Experts believe me are facing hardships because they are over-represented in the cyclical industries must affected by the downturn — manufacturing, constructions, finance, and engineering. The construction and manufacturing sector alone have lost almost 2.5 million job. By contrast, female-dominated professions like nursing and education have been less hard hit. [Citation]

If you needed more proof that women are smarter than men, chew on that for a while!

The other item is the back page story entitled “The New Face of 50+ America” where the Bulletin takes a look at the demographics of the 50+ population today and by the year 2050 in the United States. This section is full of fascinating numbers, chief among which is that of all people of age 50 and over today, 77% are white, 10% black, 8% Hispanic, and 4% Asian. By 2050, those numbers will change dramatically: 55% white, 12% black, 22% Hispanic, and 9% Asian. Both Asian and Hispanic components grow by double or better. Looks like increasing racial diversity cuts across all demographics, but will hit the older age cohorts later rather than sooner. The education and finance numbers are pretty interesting, too.

Item White Black Hispanic Asian
High school diploma 86% 72% 52% 76%
Bachelor’s degree 27% 15% 11% 38%
Median income (household) $56,100 $39,200 $45,000 $72,000
Own a home 83% 63% 66% 75%
Poverty rate 7% 18% 15% 9%

I think you’ll agree that there are some interesting elements in those numbers in nearly all categories. I was surprised at how low percentages for those with BA degrees still remain (especially when compared to HS diploma), as well as the income and home ownership distributions.

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