Self-Employment on the Rise Among US Workers Over 50

Center on Aging and Work LogoA recent study by Cal J. Halvorsen and Jacquelyn B. James of Boston College’s Center on Aging & Work documents a strong trend toward self-employment among older workers in the United States.  

When Halvorsen and James examined Americans over 50 as a group, they found that roughly one in ten were self-employed. Ten percent is a sizable portion of any population, and the researchers’ initial sample included all Americans above age 50, including these who were past retirement age and those who had been unemployed over the long term. When they filtered the data to exclude Americans out of the job market, the authors discovered that one in every five Americans over fifty currently work for themselves.

As the figure below illustrates, the research also revealed that workers are even more likely to be self-employed as they age into their sixties and seventies.