POOR HEALTH IS A MAJOR FACTOR FOR EARLY RETIREMENT, ACCORDING TO UCSF RESEARCHERS

September 07, 1999

Findings from a UC San Francisco survey of older Californians ages 45-70, show
one in five retired early (before age 50) and almost half of those early
retirees left their jobs for health reasons. 

UCSF researchers also found that Californians who retired early are more likely
to experience fair or poor health and are two and a half times more likely to
live in poverty than those who retired after age 50.

“For boomers who are retiring early, lack of health coverage until age 65 when
they become eligible for Medicare, is a major concern and a public policy issue
that needs to be addressed at state and national levels,” said Dorothy Rice,
ScD, professor emeritus, UCSF Institute for Health and Aging and principal
investigator of the survey.

The survey, a supplement of the 1999 California Work and Health Survey (CWHS)
examined work, health, and retirement issues of 972 older Californians ages
45-70.  Irene Yen, PhD, MPH, epidemiologist in the UCSF Institute for Health
and Aging, served as the project director. The survey was administered May
1-July 9, 1999.

## Survey findings of older Californians show:

* Almost three out of five (58 percent) are not retired.
* Almost a quarter are completely retired. One out of eight (12 percent) are
partially retired.
* More than half (51 percent) of the people whose household income is less than
$20,000 per year say that they are in poor health. Only 8 percent of people
whose household income is over $80,000 per year say their health is poor.
* More than one-third (34 percent) of the people who were not working said
their health is poor. One out of ten of people who worked full-time said their
health is poor.
* For Californians ages 45-65, one in seven is uninsured.  One quarter of the
people who are uninsured are partially or completely retired.
* One in five of the people who are partially or completely retired report
household incomes below 125 percent the poverty level.
* Pensions and Social Security are the main sources of income for current
retirees, with a third of those completely retired citing each as their largest
source of income.

## Comparing older Californians ages 45-70 to those over age 70.

* Californians age 45-70 are more racially and ethnically diverse than their
elders.  Over a third (36 percent) of those ages 45-70 are Latino,
African-American, Asian or from another minority group compared to just 24
percent among those age 70 or older.
* Californians ages 45-70 are considerably more likely to report high levels of
household income than those over age 70.  About half of those 45-70 live in
households with annual household income of $40,000 or more, while one out of
five of those over age 70 report this level of income.

The California Work and Health Survey is funded by a grant from The California
Wellness Foundation (TCWF) through its Work and Health Initiative.  TCWF is an
independent, private foundation established in 1992.  The Foundation’s mission
is to improve the health of the people of California by providing grants for
health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.