Selected Research & Analysis: Distribution of Retirement Income by Source

See also related Extramural Projects.

The Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Income of the Aged Population
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 77, No. 2 (released May 2017)
by Irena Dushi, Howard M. Iams, and Brad Trenkamp

Social Security benefits are the most important source of U.S. retirement income. Over time, however, trends in employer-provided pension offerings, societal changes, and Social Security program rule changes have altered the distribution of income by source among the aged population. In this article, the authors examine the reliance on Social Security benefits of people aged 65 or older using data from the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the Health and Retirement Study.

Retirement Income Among American Indians and Alaska Natives in the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2015-01 (released February 2015)
by John L. Murphy and Brent Huggins

The authors present data on annual retirement income of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) from the American Community Survey and include separate analyses for AIANs of single-race and multiple-race backgrounds. The authors also compare retirement income of AIANs with that of whites and blacks and find that, overall, annual retirement income among all AIANs was significantly lower than that of whites and also of blacks.

The Impact of Retirement Account Distributions on Measures of Family Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 2 (released May 2013)
by Howard M. Iams and Patrick J. Purcell

The income of the aged is composed largely of Social Security benefits, asset income, and pension income. Over the past three decades, the primary form of employer-sponsored pension has shifted from the traditional defined benefit plan to defined contribution plans, such as the 401(k). That trend creates problems for measuring the income of the aged because most household surveys of income either do not collect information about distributions from defined contribution retirement accounts or do not include those distributions in their summary measures of income. This article examines the impact of including distributions from retirement accounts on the estimated income of families headed by persons aged 65 or older.

Shifting Income Sources of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Chris E. Anguelov, Howard M. Iams, and Patrick J. Purcell

This article discusses the importance of 401(k)-type defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts in providing retirement income for current and future retirees. The rising prevalence and importance of this type of income creates measurement errors in the Current Population Survey and other sources of data on the income of the aged because those sources substantially underreport the distributions from such retirement plans.

Estimates of Unreported Asset Income in the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Relative Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67, No. 2 (released February 2008)
by T. Lynn Fisher

Through the 1990s and the early 2000s, the Income of the Population 55 or Older has reported a decline in the proportion of the elderly receiving asset income and the corresponding rise in the proportion receiving all of their income from Social Security. This analysis uses the Survey of Consumer Finances from 1992 to 2001 to examine financial asset holdings of the elderly and to determine if those who do not report asset income in fact might hold assets that are likely to generate income. Imputing asset income from likely income-producing holdings, the article examines the impact of probable missing asset income information upon measures of elderly income.

Measuring the Relative Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67, No. 2 (released February 2008)
by T. Lynn Fisher

Provided is a discussion of the cumulative effects of the measurement alternatives described in the three previous articles: considering family income of persons rather than aged units, using administrative data in place of survey reported data, and switching the data source from CPS to SIPP. The current-methodology CPS statistic of 17.9 percent of beneficiary aged units receiving all of their income from Social Security in 1996 falls to a substantially smaller estimated 4.5 percent of elderly beneficiary persons based on family income when using the SIPP and Social Security administrative data.

Income of the Aged in 1962: First Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 3 (released March 1988)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Distribution of Income Sources of Recent Retirees: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 1 (released January 1985)
by Linda Drazga Maxfield and Virginia P. Reno
Relative Importance of Various Income Sources of the Aged, 1980
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 1 (released January 1983)
by Melinda M. Upp
The Income and Resources of the Elderly in 1978
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44, No. 12 (released December 1981)
by Robert E. Marsh
Relative Importance of Income Sources of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 8 (released August 1973)
by Susan Grad
Differences in Sources and Size of Income: Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 5 (released May 1965)
by Erdman Palmore
Income of the Aged in 1962: First Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27, No. 3 (released March 1964)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Sources and Size of Money Income of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 1 (released January 1962)
by Lenore A. Epstein
The Aged in The Population in 1960 and Their Income Sources
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 24, No. 7 (released July 1961)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources of Aged Persons, December 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 7 (released July 1960)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Selected Sources of Money Income for Aged Persons, June 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22, No. 12 (released December 1959)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Selected Sources of Money Income for Aged Persons, June 1958
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 12 (released December 1958)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Selected Sources of Money Income for Aged Persons
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 12 (released December 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources of the Aged, December 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 6 (released June 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources for Persons Aged 65 and Over, June 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 12 (released December 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources for Persons Aged 65 and Over, December 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 6 (released June 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources for Persons Aged 65 and Over, June 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18, No. 12 (released December 1955)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Economic Resources of Persons Aged 65 and Over
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18, No. 6 (released June 1955)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Resources of Aged Insurance Beneficiaries: 1951 National Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 8 (released August 1952)
by Edna C. Wentworth
Resources of Beneficiaries of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 12, No. 11 (released November 1949)
by Edna C. Wentworth and Margaret L. Stecker
Resources of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Beneficiaries in Three Southern Cities
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 9 (released September 1943)
by Marie Correll Malitsky