Selected Research & Analysis: Demographic Characteristics > Sex, Comparative

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Research Summary

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI, SSI, and OASI Program Participants, 2016 Update
Research and Statistics Note No. 2022-01 (released April 2022)
by Matt Messel and Brad Trenkamp

The authors use data from the March 2017 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey matched to Social Security administrative records to produce tables providing detailed information on the economic and demographic characteristics of Disability Insurance beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients in calendar year 2016. The tables update those published in a 2015 Research and Statistics Note that used 2013 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), a 2014 Research and Statistics Note that used 2010 SIPP data, and a 2008 Research and Statistics Note that used 2002 SIPP data. For this note, the authors add tables showing selected characteristics of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance beneficiaries.

How Does Mortality Among Disability-Program Beneficiaries Compare with That of the General Population? A Summary of Actuarial Estimates
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 4 (released November 2021)
by Javier Meseguer

Using period mortality estimates from Social Security Administration actuarial studies published over the period from 1977 to 2015, this article compares the long-term mortality trends of Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries aged 25 or older with those of the general population. The author finds substantial longevity gaps between the groups. Mortality rates among DI beneficiaries are highest in their first year on the DI rolls; rates are lower among those with longer durations on the rolls. Although period mortality for DI beneficiaries improved significantly over the study period, it remains today at levels similar to those experienced by the general public in the early years of the 20th century.

Trends in Working and Claiming Behavior at Social Security's Early Eligibility Age by Sex
ORES Working Paper No. 114 (released August 2020)
by Hilary Waldron

For this working paper, the author uses a merged internal research file of administrative data from the Social Security Administration to examine working and retired-worker benefit claiming behavior at and around Social Security's early eligibility age of 62, by sex. The author defines various combinations of working and benefit-claiming behavior at or near age 62, for which she presents statistics indicating trends in behavior patterns for men and women born in the years from 1937 through 1944. This paper is an introductory companion to the forthcoming ORES Working Paper No. 115, which focuses on men's working and claiming behavior and disaggregates the results by lifetime earnings decile.

Geographic Mobility and Annual Earnings in the United States
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 2 (released May 2020)
by Patrick J. Purcell

The geographic mobility rate of U.S. workers has declined in recent decades. Labor mobility has historically indicated variations between local areas in earnings and other economic conditions. Because average career earnings determine Social Security retirement benefit levels, changing trends in geographic mobility and earnings may have implications for workers' future benefits. The author uses administrative data on earnings from the Social Security Administration's Continuous Work History Sample to examine trends in geographic mobility from 1994 to 2016 and to compare the earnings of working-age adults who moved to another county or state with the earnings of those who did not.

Employment at Older Ages and Social Security Benefit Claiming, 1980–2018
Research and Statistics Note No. 2020-01 (released April 2020)
by Patrick J. Purcell

A retired worker's Social Security benefit depends in part on the age at which he or she claims benefits. Working longer and claiming benefits later increase the monthly benefit. Information about trends in employment at older ages and the age at which individuals claim Social Security benefits can help policymakers assess the effectiveness of current policies in influencing the timing of retirement and benefit claims. Both the labor force participation rate (LFPR) among older Americans and the age at which they claim Social Security retirement benefits have risen in recent years. For example, from 2000 through 2018, the LFPR among individuals aged 65–69 rose from 30 percent to 38 percent for men and from 19 percent to 29 percent for women. Since 2000, the proportion of fully insured men and women who claim retirement benefits at the earliest eligibility age of 62 has declined substantially.

The Longevity Visualizer: An Analytic Tool for Exploring the Cohort Mortality Data Produced by the Office of the Chief Actuary
Research and Statistics Note No. 2016-02 (released May 2016)
by Brian J. Alleva

This note introduces the Longevity Visualizer (LV), a visual-analysis tool that enables users to explore various applications of cohort life-table data compiled and calculated by the Social Security Administration's Office of the Chief Actuary. The LV presents the life-table data in two series—survival functions and age-at-death probability distributions—each of which is generated for each potential age and each sex across a long range of historical and projected birth cohorts. The LV is designed to make complex longevity projections accessible to analysts and researchers, as well as to individuals making financial and retirement plans.

The Sensitivity of Proposed Social Security Benefit Formula Changes to Lifetime Earnings Definitions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 2 (released May 2012)
by Hilary Waldron

Several Social Security proposals have included benefit formula changes that apply to earners above a specified percentage of the combined male and female (unisex) lifetime earnings distribution. This study finds that if Social Security's median unisex average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) amount is used to define an earnings threshold below which benefits will be held unreduced, the percentage of fully insured men subject to benefit reductions (70 percent) will exceed the unisex estimate of the population subject to benefit reductions (50 percent) by 20 percentage points. If policymakers wish to adjust future benefits and focus benefit reductions on middle or high primary or full-time wage earners in a household, the male, rather than unisex, AIME would come closer to achieving such a goal.

Comparing Earnings Estimates from the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File and the Annual Statistical Supplement
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-01 (released January 2012)
by Michael Compson

The Social Security Administration recently released the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File (EPUF). The EPUF contains earnings information for individuals drawn from a systematic random 1-percent sample of all Social Security numbers issued before January 2007. This note presents the process of evaluating the earnings data in EPUF. It also identifies and explains four key differences between the data in EPUF and the estimates published in the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin. The note specifically compares EPUF data with Annual Statistical Supplement estimates of earnings, number of workers with earnings, median earnings by sex and age group, and percentage of workers with earnings below the taxable maximum by sex. After accounting for the expected differences, the remaining discrepancies between EPUF and Annual Statistical Supplement estimates are relatively small.

The Distribution of Annual and Long-Run US Earnings, 1981–2004
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 1 (released February 2011)
by Michael V. Leonesio and Linda Del Bene

During 1981–2004, long-run earnings inequality among men increased by about the same magnitude as the well-documented increase in annual earnings inequality. Although the growth in annual earnings inequality was greater for women during these years, there was very little increase in their long-run earnings inequality. This article explores the conditions that produce the divergent trends in long-run earnings.

Earnings Sharing in Social Security: Projected Impacts of Alternative Proposals Using the MINT Model
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69, No. 1 (released May 2009)
by Howard M. Iams, Gayle L. Reznik, and Christopher R. Tamborini

Earnings sharing is an alternate method of calculating Social Security retirement benefits whereby earnings are assumed to be shared by married couples. This article presents a microsimulation analysis to estimate the impact of three earnings sharing proposals on the aged population of married, divorced, and widowed men and women in 2030. The impact of earnings sharing differs by marital status and sex, as measured by the percentage change in benefits and by the percentage of beneficiaries with increased and reduced benefits.

Distribution of Zero-Earnings Years by Gender, Birth Cohort, and Level of Lifetime Earnings
Research and Statistics Note No. 2000-02 (released November 2000)
by Chad Newcomb

This note uses data from the Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) project to estimate the distribution of zero-earnings years by gender, birth cohort, and level of lifetime earnings from 1951 to 1996. The analysis is focused mainly on zero-earnings years that fall within a worker's highest 35 years of earnings, because only these years are used in the calculation of benefits.

Earnings of Couples: A Cohort Analysis
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56, No. 3 (released July 1993)
by Howard M. Iams
Developments in the Equalization of Treatment of Men and Women Under Social Security in the Federal Republic of Germany
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 50, No. 2 (released February 1987)
by Peter Puidak
Sex-Specific Equivalent Retirement Ages: 1940–2050
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 3 (released March 1984)
by Marilyn M. McMillen
Experience of Federal Annuitants Under OASDHI: Age and Sex
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42, No. 7 (released July 1979)
by Daniel N. Price
Age and Sex of Persons Receiving Both OASI Benefits and OAA Payments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 10 (released October 1963)
by Robert J. Myers
Old-Age Benefits in Current-Payment Status, by Sex of Beneficiary and State, End of 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 2 (released February 1957)
Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled: Characteristics of Men and Women Recipients
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 11 (released November 1953)
by Saul Kaplan
Applicants for Account Numbers, by Age, Sex, and Color, January–March 1939
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 8 (released August 1939)
by Willard C. Smith and Katherine D. Wood
Age and Sex Differentials in Taxable Wages Reported for 1937
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 6 (released June 1939)
by Max J. Wasserman and Katherine D. Wood
Sex, Marital Status, and Living Arrangements of 1,000,000 Recipients of Old-Age Assistance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 2 (released February 1939)
Age, Sex, and Color of Applicants for Account Numbers
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 9 (released September 1938)