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The Impact of Pay Inequality, Occupational Segregation, and Lifetime Work Experience on the Retirement Income of Women and Minorities

Women and minorities are especially vulnerable in retirement: both groups face a disproportionately high risk of poverty in their old age. Lower earnings and fewer years in the work force translate into less retirement income because pensions and Social Security typically reward those with higher pay and more years of paid work. This 53-page report by Olivia S. Mitchell and John W. Phillips of the University of Pennsylvania and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College reviews and synthesizes existing research in the area of pay inequality differences in earnings between working men and women and between minority and white workers. The report examines the anticipated wealth available, by sex and minority status, from three sources: Social Security, employer-provided pensions, and other financial assets, including housing.