Projections by Demographic Group
Sporadic Low Earners in 2050Methodology »
Released: August 2021
Next expected update: 2024
DEFINITION: In contrast to a lifetime low earner, a sporadic low earner is a Social Security beneficiary aged 60 or older who:
- is fully insured by age 61;
- has at least 30 years of non-covered earnings or 30 years of covered earnings at less than half the average wage;
- has more than 5 years with zero earnings; and
- was never disabled.
In 2050, we project that:
- Seven percent (5.9 million) of all beneficiaries aged 60 or older will be sporadic low earners.
- Thirty-six percent (2.2 million) of sporadic low earners will have earnings from non-covered work.
- Of all sporadic low earners, more than half (3.3 million) will be native born.
- Almost all immigrant sporadic low earners will arrive in the U.S. before age 50.
- The poverty rate will be significantly higher for sporadic low earners compared to all beneficiaries aged 60 or older.
- The median benefit for sporadic low earners will be 43 percent lower for women and 59 percent lower for men compared to all beneficiaries aged 60 or older.
|Sporadic low earners as a percentage of all beneficiaries aged 60 or older||7|
|Percentage of sporadic low earners with non-covered earnings||36|
|Benefit type||Sporadic low earners||Beneficiaries aged 60 or older|
|Status||Percentage of sporadic low earners|
|Early-arriving immigrants (under age 50)||43.2|
|Late-arriving immigrants (aged 50 or older)||0.6|
|Benefit type and sex||Sporadic low earners||Beneficiaries aged 60 or older|
SOURCE: Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 8 (MINT8) microsimulation model using 2019 Trustees Report intermediate assumptions.