Measuring Racial/Ethnic Retirement Wealth Inequality

Publication Date: January 2020

Publisher: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Author(s): Wenliang Hou; Geoffrey Sanzenbacher

Research Area: Banking and finance; Population and demographics

Keywords: Financing Retirement

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


As the U.S. population becomes more diverse, it will be increasingly important for policymakers addressing Social Security’s solvency to understand how reliant various racial and ethnic groups will be on the program versus other sources of retirement wealth. Yet, to date, studies on retirement wealth have tended not to focus on race and ethnicity, have largely ignored the role of Social Security, or have excluded the most recent cohort approaching retirement – the Late Boomers. This project uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to document the retirement resources of white, black, and Hispanic households at various points in the wealth distribution for five HRS cohorts of 51-56 year olds between 1992 and 2016.