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10 Cities Where Older Workers Thrive

And 10 of the most popular jobs for 65+ workers 

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There’s nothing magic about 65 when it comes to retirement. Many workers are continuing at their jobs well past that age, some are returning to work later in life and others are going part-time. It’s a trend that is projected to rise.

“Whether due to inflation or personal reasons, we’re seeing seniors either stay in the workforce or return to the workforce,” says Collin Czarnecki, founder of Noble Digital Studio, which conducted research on older workers for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  “Overall, that’s growing over the next several years.” 

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Among adults 65 to 74, 25.8 percent are working and that rate is expected to grow to 30.7 percent by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can find older adults working anywhere across the country but there are some hot spots according to the Chamber of Commerce’s research. And it’s not the usual suspects. New York City has a large population of older adults but ranks low in older people still on the job, says Czarnecki. 

“New York was ranked very low on the list of cities with the most working seniors. In total, 20.7 percent of seniors in New York are in the workforce. Overall, the city ranks 106th out of the 170 cities within the analysis,” says Czarnecki. “Income could be a reason why the city has fewer working seniors compared to other cities within the analysis.”

Dallas, which ranked high in number of older workers, has the lowest percentage of seniors with retirement income, he says. 

Another reason a city may have more older workers is the industries in the region. Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, ranked high in older workers and that may be due to the number of federal workers. Over a quarter of federal employers are 55 and older, says Czarnecki, pointing to an often cited Politico survey.  Anchorage, Alaska, has a high number of older workers in part because the state’s large fishing industry employs many older workers. The median age of workers in that profession is 52.3, says Czarnecki.

Jobs popular with older adults

The jobs workers 65 and older are doing range from farmers to CEOs.  Some require years of experience and training. Others offer flexibility for older adults who want part-time work, says Czarnecki.

“Occupations such as farming, ranching and judicial workers typically take time in terms of gaining proper experience,” says Czarnecki.  “Elsewhere, seniors that seek out part-time work might be attracted to jobs that offer flexibility, such as school bus drivers or shuttle bus drivers.” 

Some Places Are Popular with the Oldest Workers

spinner image map showing locations of the top ten cities for older workers
Getty Images/AARP

Without a doubt older adults are staying in the workforce longer. Here is a look at what cities and jobs they are in. 

Cities with high rates of older workers

1. Alexandria, Virginia

Total 65+ population: 19,750

Total 65+ workers: 7,270 

Rate of participation: 36.8 percent 

Median household salary: $84,125​

2. Tallahassee, Florida

Total 65+ population: 24,460

Total 65+ workers: 7,570

Rate of participation: 30.9 percent 

Median household salary: $51,247

3. Dallas, Texas

Total 65+ population: 146,297

Total 65+ workers: 44,332

Rate of participation: 30.3 percent 

Median household salary: $47,826

4. Irvine, California 

Total 65+ population: 31,905

Total 65+ workers: 9,639

Rate of participation: 30.2 percent 

Median household salary: $83,229

5. Washington, D.C. 

Total 65+ population: 85,615

Total 65+ workers: 25,188

Rate of participation: 29.4 percent 

Median household salary: $60,159

6. Plano, Texas

Total 65+ population: 35,245

Total 65+ workers: 10,178

Rate of participation: 28.9 percent 

Median household salary: $66,982​

7. Anchorage, Alaska  

Total 65+ population: 36,611

Total 65+ workers: 10,449

Rate of participation: 28.5 percent 

Median household salary: $72,078

8. Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Total 65+ population: 46,479

Total 65+ workers: 13,247

Rate of participation: 28.5 percent 

Median household salary: $44,825​

9. Overland Park, Kansas 

Total 65+ population: 31,663

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Total 65+ workers: 8,687

Rate of participation: 27.4 percent 

Median household salary: $63,728

10. Madison, Wisconsin 

Total 65+ population: 36,271

Total 65+ workers: 9,908

Rate of participation: 27.3 percent 

Median household salary: $62,064

Jobs popular with older workers

1. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

Average age: 56.2

2. Shuttle drivers and chauffeurs

Average age: 56.1

3. School bus drivers

Average age: 55.9

4. Bus drivers (transit and intercity)

Average age: 54.2

5. Judges, magistrates and other judicial workers

Average age: 53.8

6. Construction and building inspectors

Average age: 53.2 

7. Property appraisers and assessors

Average age: 52.3

8. First-line supervisors of farming, fishing and forestry workers

Average age: 52.3 

9. Chief executive

Average age: 51.7

10. Tailors, dressmakers and sewers

Average age: 51.6 

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