Washington Among the Best States for Older Workers

With people living longer and retiring later, the policies in place in individual states can have a large impact on the quality of an employee’s later years in the workforce. According to a recent study by Seniorly, Washington is tied as the third-best state for older workers.

The Seniorly study reports that, a record 10.6 million Americans aged 65 or older are in the workforce, with that number set to increase to 16 million by 2030. The same estimate predicts that workers 75 and older will increase by 96.5% and workers 65 and older by 41.9% in the same period.

To determine which states are the best for older workers, Seniorly compared five categories, including labor force participation for older adults, income, taxes, healthcare and life expectancy in each state.

Washington tied with Alaska for third place; the top-ranked state was Wyoming, with South Dakota taking the number two spot. West Virginia and Kentucky came in last, in spots no. 50 and 51, respectively (the study also included Washington, D.C.).

Part of the reason Washington ranked so high was the state’s lack of income tax, which serves to increase the wealth of households that include older workers. Many workers will put off retirement for a few years to increase their social security checks when they do retire, so variances in statewide taxes can also have a big impact in the financial stability of older workers.

Another factor that boosted Washington’s ranking is the average life expectancy of 80 years, tying it with Colorado for 8th place in that category. Places where employees can live long and healthy lives make it easier for them to stay in the workforce after age 65.

Among the states with older workers, D.C. and Vermont had the highest percentage of workers over 65, at 22.7% of the total labor force. West Virginia came in last in this category, with only 13.4% of its labor force over age 65.

This article was originally posted on Puget Sound Business Journal by Rick Morgan.

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