New Face of Retirement:
An Ongoing Survey of American Attitudes on Aging
Summer 2002, Civic Ventures undertook its second national survey
focusing on the attitudes of the next generation of retirees toward
continuing to contribute to society. The effort was conducted by
Peter D. Hart Research Associates of Washington, D.C. and was funded
by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Conducted from July 22 to July 31, 2002, the poll includes 600 older
Americans aged 50 to 75, including 300 volunteers and 300 non-volunteers.
The results were released August 19, 2002.
The survey findings show that Sept. 11 appears to have had a galvanizing
effect on older Americans and their retirement plans. Forty
percent say they are more likely to serve as a result of the Sept.
11 attacks, and more than half are planning to make service a centerpiece
of their post-retirement years.
In contrast to the 40 percent who say they are more likely to volunteer
as the result of Sept. 11, only 10 percent say the recent economic
downturn has made them less likely to serve. The true significance
of these statistics lies in the demographics. As the Baby
Boomers move into later life, they will comprise nearly 25 percent
of the population in a quarter century. Their behavior will
have enormous direct social impact and set the tone for older Americans
in the coming decades.
here for copies of the survey
analysis and survey
Other findings from The New Face of Retirement
Attitudes About Retirement and Civic Engagement:
in five (59 percent) see retirement as “a time to be active
and involved, to start new activities, and to set new goals.”
who plan to work in their retirement cite the desire to stay active
and productive, rather than economic necessity, as the reason.
percent say civic engagement will be at least a fairly important
part of retirement
percent report having volunteered in the past three years, with
one-quarter of those devoting at least five hours a week.
additional 21 percent of older Americans would commit at least
five hours a week to volunteering if they received a small incentive
for their service, doubling the current older adult volunteer
workforce, from 25 percent to 46 percent. Nearly one in three
older adults say they would serve 15 hours a week for such an
in five non-volunteers who are interested in volunteering at least
15 hours a week name prescription-drug benefits as their most
with children was found to be the most appealing volunteer activity
among older adults, with 35 percent seeing that as most enjoyable,
followed by service to religious organizations, other seniors,
than half (52 percent) believe that the government should do more
to fund programs that provide volunteer andcommunity involvement
opportunities for older adults. Currently, only 2.6 percent
of the dollars going into AmeriCorps are for older Americans,
while 75 percent of the dollars into Senior Corps are restricted
to low-income seniors.
Selected press from the release of The New Face of Retirement
Tribune, “Tapping Into 'An Enormous Resource,'” by
Lindsay Peterson, September 3, 2002
Washington Times, “Survey Says Stipend Would Encourage Seniors
to Volunteer,” by Amy Fagan, August 29, 2002
Hill, “A Helping Hand Sept. 11 was Turning Point for Volunteer
Organizations' lobbying,” by Michael S. Gerber, September
Newswire, “New Poll Finds that September 11th Attacks Inspire
Call to Service by Older Americans,” August 27, 2002
Miami Herald, “Older Folk Think World is Worse but
Feel Volunteer Urge, Poll Says,” by Sumana Chatterjee, August
Free Press, “More Older Adults are Volunteering; 9; 11 Attacks
Lead to Extra Involvement, Poll Says,” August 26, 2002