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The Length of Working Life

Seymour L. Wolfbein
Population Studies
Vol. 3, No. 3 (Dec., 1949), pp. 286-294
DOI: 10.2307/2172578
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2172578
Page Count: 9
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The Length of Working Life
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Abstract

The rapid growth of the aged population in recent years has underscored the economic problems of dependency in old age and has focused attention on the length of working life as compared to the total life span. In addition to interest in the average work-life span, students of labour-force dynamics have found a need for related measures of withdrawals from the labour force at different ages. In this paper, the author adopts the technique of the life table to a measurement of the work-life span by the construction of a table of working life. Significant contrast is shown between total life expectancy and working life expectancy. In the United States, the average male worker at 20, for example, could expect to live for an additional 46.8 years and to remain in the labour force for an additional 41.1 years. He would therefore have to provide for almost 6 years of retirement. Significant differences are also indicated in comparisons by colour and residence. Further areas of study in applying the concept of working life are suggested.

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