Research and Analysis by Purvi Sevak
Despite increased labor force participation rates among women and reforms under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, widowhood remains an important risk factor for transition into poverty, although somewhat less so than 20 years ago. Women widowed at younger ages are at greatest risk for economic hardship after widowhood, and their situation declines with the duration of widowhood. We also find that women in households that are least prepared financially for widowhood are at greatest risk of a husband's death, because of the strong relationship between mortality and wealth.
In this article, the authors use the Health and Retirement Study to compare retirement resources of the foreign born with those of the native born. They find that immigrants have significantly lower Social Security benefit levels than natives; however, after controlling for demographic characteristics immigrants have higher levels of net worth. The immigrant/native differential in retirement resources varies systematically by number of years in the United States.