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What Is the Average Retirement Age?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 23, 2024
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The average retirement age is defined as the average age at which individuals within a certain group or demographic retire from employment. This age is not a stable number that remains the same over generations. Instead, it changes, varying according to trends in employment, retirement, and life expectancy. For example, in the United States, the average age at which individuals retired in 1910 was 74 years old. In 2002, however, the retirement age was 62.

Many people confuse the average retirement age with the normal or full retirement age. In the United States, the full or normal age of retirement is the age at which a person can begin to receive full Social Security benefits. This is different from the average age at which citizens of the United States retire.

A full range of factors may affect the average age of retirement. Ages may differ between men and women. They may also differ according to race, income bracket, place of residence, and occupation. The average retirement age of employees of private companies may differ from the average age at which government employees retire from service.

The average retirement age can be important in analyzing trends in the workforce. It may be used in making predictions concerning the workforce in years to come. An understanding of this age may also help employers in creating benefits programs for their employees.

On a personal level, this age can be important for figuring out the amount of money an individual will need to retire. For example, someone who belongs to a demographic in which the average retirement age is 60 and has a life expectancy of 83 will need to plan to have enough money to last for at least 23 years of life after retirement. It is important to keep in mind, however, that no one is required to retire at the average age; many workers retire earlier or later.

This number may also be important in terms of retirement benefits. If the average age of retirement in a certain occupation is 60 and the age of eligibility for retirement benefits is 62, a worker retiring at the average age may need to find a way of supporting himself until retirement benefits are available. In some situations, an employee retiring at the average age may be eligible to receive partial retirement benefits until she reaches the full or normal retirement age.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a PublicPeople writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Discussion Comments

By anon342721 — On Jul 23, 2013

People in the USA purchase German, Japanese and other foreign make autos whose workers have much more generous retirement and health benefits. These same workers vote against similar benefits for their own American workforce! This surprises me since we place ourselves in a position of subsidizing benefits for foreign workers, which we do not receive! Go figure!

By anon210820 — On Aug 31, 2011

So what is the average retirement age for a male?

By anon159723 — On Mar 13, 2011

retire at 62 or earlier and then live another 30 years? no wonder the economy is so screwed up.

By anon157774 — On Mar 04, 2011

Let's reverse Roe Vs. Wade and save the 20 percent of kids from being aborted. The world will benefit morally, government and social security will be infused with more tax money being thrown in the kitty! Social Security is saved!

By anon137103 — On Dec 26, 2010

Well I retired at age 51 after figuring out at age 30 that I could make more money owning my own business than working for someone and earning a wage. After all, sticking it to my customers and employees is how you make your money.

After 20 years it paid off and now I own two large homes, four vehicles, a large fishing boat and travel to Europe and Mexico once a year with my wife on shopping sprees.

My only regret is that I wasn't more aggressive in how I did business. Had I been, I might have retired like my uncle who was in the same business and retired with over 20 million dollars in the bank. Oh well, live and learn.

By anon93110 — On Jul 01, 2010

i retired at 56 -- best thing i ever did. i live in the desert and don't go to town but every three months. but anyway i felt that if i went past 62 and kept on working i would be paying my own wages, i figured it out that i would be in my seventies before i would see a leveling point.

i just quit work, loaded up my RV and went west, and ended up here in texas. for you who want to keep on working and those who have to keep on working, i am sorry that you are wasting your life working and saving uncle sam money.

By anon57483 — On Dec 23, 2009

Has anyone seen the statistics for retirement age broken down by private sector compared to public sector? If so where might this information be seen?


By anon50522 — On Oct 29, 2009

I retired at 50 because I could and love it. These stats that show early retirement equals early death reflect the fact that many retire early for health reasons. I would like to see the stats for early retirement corrected for health complications.

By anon50511 — On Oct 29, 2009

Why is it when I retire with a state retirement system I can't draw my social security. I paid this money in. why can't I draw it?

By anon50505 — On Oct 29, 2009

I read the article and I still don't know what the average retirement age is. I know what it was in 1910 and 2002 but I still don't know what it is now. Was this article written by a politician? Ask a question and get a bunch of facts but no answer?

A simple number would have worked but if you want to get fancy, a table or chart with life expectancy vs. demographics vs. gender and so on whould have worked but at least the question may have gotten an answer. I come out of this with an unanswered question. What *is* the average retirement age?

By HarryLou — On Jan 26, 2009

Significant difference between retirement age in 1910 vice 2002. Guess in 1910 you had to work as long as you could? I would expect, especially with the current financial situation, this number (retirement age) to trend upward.

By somerset — On Jul 02, 2008

Most of us are dreaming of early retirement, but some recent findings seem to indicate that people who retire early might also die early. People who retire at 55 are apparently two times as likely to die by 65, as opposed to those who continue working. I guess the need to feel needed and useful, and being connected socially is what keeps us going. Until recently the opposite was thought to be true.

By knittingpro — On Apr 03, 2008

Interestingly, when the retirement age was instated in the United States, it was not common for people to live much past that age. Now people can be retired for decades, which is part of the reason why Social Security is such a huge mess!

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a PublicPeople writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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