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The impact of health and education on future labour force participation among individuals aged 55–74 in the United States of America: the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society

  • DAVID H. REHKOPF (a1), NANCY E. ADLER (a2) and JOHN W. ROWE (a3)


Chronic disease, mobility limitations and low physical functioning are determinants of an earlier age of retirement. Therefore, long-term population trends in these factors may have an impact on the proportion of individuals near traditional retirement age who continue to work. Our objective is to develop a projection model that accounts for trends in these factors in order to estimate the proportion of the population aged 55–74 with the capacity to participate in the labour force. We used logistic regression models to quantify how chronic disease, mobility and functional status predict labour force participation among individuals aged 55–59. Next, we obtained estimates of the population prevalence of each of these predictors for the years 2010–2050. We then used estimated coefficients from the logistic regression models to predict the age-specific probability of capacity for work up to the age of 74. We find that population capacity for work depends on trends in disability and on level of education. Future population capacity for work depends on trends in functional limitations primarily in the population with lower levels of education. Changes in functional limitations, changes in the environment, technology and social policy targeted towards individuals with lower levels of education could result in mitigation of future decreasing capacity for work in the population near retirement age.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: David H. Rehkopf, Division of General Medical Disciplines, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1265 Welch Road, MSOB, Room X328, Stanford, CA 94305, USA E-mail:


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The impact of health and education on future labour force participation among individuals aged 55–74 in the United States of America: the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society

  • DAVID H. REHKOPF (a1), NANCY E. ADLER (a2) and JOHN W. ROWE (a3)


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