States with the most adults of retirement age still working

Stacker used 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau to find what share of each state's 65-and-over set still has a job.  

Jill Jaracz
Posted

Mature businesswoman reading documents.

Aruta Images // Shutterstock

For many Americans, the typical life plan has long been school, work, retirement at 65, and living comfortably. But not as many people are traveling that path anymore.

Nearly 19% of people of retirement age—65 years or older—remain in the workforce. In fact, Americans over 55 are the only age group that increased its labor force participation rate from 2001 to 2021. Projections expect that trend to continue into the next decade.

Many simply don't want to retire because they enjoy what they do and don't want to slow down. Some find that retirement doesn't suit them and return to work to add meaning to their lives.

Others work because they can't afford retirement. According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly one-third of workers aged 55 to 64 don't have access to a retirement savings plan. Those who rely solely on Social Security benefits may find they don't cover all of their living expenses. Major unplanned expenses like medical bills can also keep people in the workforce.

Stacker used 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau to find what share of each state's retirement-age population, those 65 and older, still participate in the labor force. Labor force statistics are calculated based on the civilian noninstitutional population, meaning those adults who are not incarcerated or in long-term medical facilities. It's helpful to note that age 65 is the typical age for retirement, as it's the age to qualify for Medicare.

Continue reading to find out whether your state has the most adults of retirement age still at work.

You may also like: How the 'Great Resignation' has impacted 10 industries

#51. South Carolina

Downtown Charleston street view.

Susanne Pommer // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 14% (142,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.6% (967,223 people)

#50. West Virginia

Charleston skyline on the Kanawha River.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 14.8% (56,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 20.7% (368,775 people)

#49. Mississippi

Biloxi Lighthouse on a clear day.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 14.9% (73,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.8% (496,945 people)

#48. Arizona

Tempe lake and downtown.

Tim Roberts Photography // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 15.1% (195,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.3% (1.33 million people)

#47. Alabama

Birmingham skyline at dusk.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 15.8% (137,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.6% (885,809 people)

You may also like: 50 most common jobs in America 100 years ago

#46. Tennessee

Downtown Nashville in autumn.

Brian Wilson Photography // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 16% (194,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.0% (1.19 million people)

#45. Kentucky

Downtown Louisville buildings and bridge.

f11photo // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 16.1% (123,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.0% (768,416 people)

#44. New Mexico

Albuquerque residential suburbs.

turtix // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 16.3% (65,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.5% (391,797 people)

#43. Arkansas

Little Rock skyline in afternoon.

Eduardo Medrano // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 16.6% (91,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.4% (525,153 people)

#42. Florida

Seafront beach promenade in Fort Lauderdale.

mariakray // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 16.7% (744,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 21.1% (4.60 million people)

You may also like: Fastest-growing jobs that pay over $100K

#41. Delaware

Aerial view with early morning light in downtown Wilmington.

Real Window Creative // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.1% (35,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 20.1% (201,551 people)

#39. Michigan (tie)

Pedestrians walking in downtown Ann Arbor.

Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.2% (319,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.1% (1.82 million people)

#39. Ohio (tie)

Cincinnati downtown skyline and bridge.

photo.ua // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.2% (373,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.8% (2.10 million people)

#37. Georgia (tie)

Aerial view of Atlanta metro and highways.

Brett Barnhill // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.4% (279,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 14.7% (1.59 million people)

#37. Idaho (tie)

Skyline of downtown Boise.

Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.4% (56,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.5% (314,010 people)

You may also like: Richest women in America

#35. Washington (tie)

Elevated view of Seattle Space Needle and downtown.

kan_khampanya // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.8% (213,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.2% (1.25 million people)

#35. Illinois (tie)

Chicago neighborhood buildings and city skyline on sunny autumn day.

marchello74 // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 17.8% (373,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.6% (2.10 million people)

#34. Oregon

Portland cityscape from Pittock Mansion.

Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 18% (148,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.6% (789,896 people)

#33. Pennsylvania

Pittsburg cityscape over the Allegheny River.

ESB Professional // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 18.3% (466,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 19.0% (2.46 million people)

#32. Missouri

Aerial view of The Gateway Arch and riverfront in downtown St. Louis.

Joe Hendrickson // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 18.6% (203,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.6% (1.08 million people)

You may also like: The unemployment rate the year you turned 16

#31. New York

Crowds of people walk across 3rd Avenue in Manhattan.

Ryan DeBerardinis // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 18.9% (669,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.5% (3.48 million people)

#30. North Carolina

Asheville skyline in the fall.

Derek Olson Photography // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.1% (367,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.0% (1.80 million people)

#29. Louisiana

Canal Street streetcar in downtown New Orleans.

TFoxFoto // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.3% (147,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.6% (766,330 people)

#27. Indiana (tie)

Indianapolis skyline seen from canal walkway.

KYPhua // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.5% (219,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.4% (1.12 million people)

#27. California (tie)

Aerial view of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

TierneyMJ // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.5% (1.18 million people)
- Population ages 65+: 15.2% (5.96 million people)

You may also like: The most common jobs in America today

#26. Virginia

People walk along the oceanfront boardwalk and resort area in Virginia Beach.

Sherry V Smith // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.6% (277,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.3% (1.41 million people)

#25. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City downtown skyline in the late afternoon.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.7% (126,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.2% (645,174 people)

#24. Texas

Aerial view of Austin skyline.

Canva

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 19.9% (788,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 13.2% (3.89 million people)

#21. Wisconsin (tie)

Milwaukee cityscape with Art Museum with the Northwestern Mutual building.

Tony Savino // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 20.1% (205,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.9% (1.05 million people)

#21. Maine (tie)

Portland Head Lighthouse and coastline.

Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 20.1% (63,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 21.7% (297,101 people)

You may also like: Former jobs of every Supreme Court justice

#21. Nevada (tie)

Aerial view of Carson City skyline and capitol building.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 20.1% (114,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.5% (519,568 people)

#20. Utah

Salt Lake City downtown street.

Canva

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 20.9% (79,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 11.6% (388,120 people)

#18. Colorado (tie)

Elevated view of Grand Junction and the Colorado River.

Paul Gana // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 21% (182,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 15.1% (880,167 people)

#18. New Jersey (tie)

Aerial view of Jersey CIty at sunset.

f11photo // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 21% (341,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.9% (1.56 million people)

#17. Montana

View of Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 21.1% (49,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 19.7% (217,298 people)

You may also like: Inside the chaotic, highly lucrative world of influencer marketing today

#16. New Hampshire

Aerial view of Market Square and North Church in Portsmouth.

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 22% (65,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 19.3% (267,741 people)

#13. Hawaii (tie)

Honolulu waterfront and cityscape.

MNStudio // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 22.1% (62,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 19.6% (282,567 people)

#13. Wyoming (tie)

City of Jackson Hole and surrounding landscape.

C Model // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 22.1% (23,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.9% (103,822 people)

#13. Massachusetts (tie)

Cape Cod seashore viewed from Pilgrim Monument.

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 22.1% (271,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.4% (1.22 million people)

#12. North Dakota

Aerial view of Grand Forks.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 22.7% (29,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.0% (123,840 people)

You may also like: How the gender wage gap has changed over the last 40 years

#11. Rhode Island

The Manchester Street Power Station smokestacks and Providence skyline.

Big Joe // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 22.9% (48,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.3% (200,201 people)

#10. Iowa

Des Moines cityscape and sculpture park.

Grindstone Media Group // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 23.3% (130,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 17.8% (567,581 people)

#9. Maryland

Aerial view of Annapolis and Statehouse.

Real Window Creative // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 23.4% (234,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.3% (1.00 million people)

#7. Minnesota (tie)

Downtown Minneapolis overlooking Mississippi River

ostreetphotography // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 23.5% (215,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.8% (959,272 people)

#7. Washington D.C. (tie)

Pennsylvania Avenue and US Capitol.

Orhan Cam // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 23.5% (20,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 12.8% (85,615 people)

You may also like: The most important well-being programs, according to workers

#6. Kansas

River and Keeper of the Plains statue near downtown Wichita.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 23.8% (116,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.7% (489,676 people)

#5. Connecticut

Skyline of downtown Hartford from above Charter Oak Landing.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 24.3% (164,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 18.0% (649,172 people)

#4. Alaska

Mount Juneau and the city of Juneau.

Mary Swift // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 24.7% (24,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 13.4% (98,410 people)

#2. Nebraska (tie)

Aerial view of Lincoln in autumn.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 25% (77,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 16.4% (322,833 people)

#2. Vermont (tie)

Montpelier city skyline.

haveseen // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 25% (36,000 people)
- Population ages 65+: 20.6% (133,173 people)

You may also like: Highest-paying jobs with no formal education requirements

#1. South Dakota

Tourists visit Falls Park in Sioux Falls.

Steven Frame // Shutterstock

- Labor force participation among ages 65+: 26.7% (Estimated 42,000)
- Population ages 65+: 17.6% (157,883 people)

Note: Labor force participation data for South Dakota seniors was not available from BLS, so Stacker used data from a South Dakota Department of Labor report. Stacker estimated the state's 65+ labor force based on available Census Bureau data. Since the data comes from two sources, there may be some discrepancies in actual values and comparisons.