Study: Economic Recessions Harm Older Americans’ Health

According to new research from Wellesley College, the 20 million Americans between the ages of 55 and 60 are at an increased risk for long-term health problems stemming from the impact of the Great Recession. Economic researchers compared data on mortality and employment over the past four decades to confirm that, according to the lead author of the study, “being unfortunate enough to experience a recession as an older worker has significant lifelong effects for one’s health.” Presumably, joblessness — and the resulting lack of income and health insurance — puts older Americans more at risk for health issues than younger workers. However, due to the safety net that the Social Security and Medicare programs provide, the data suggests that Americans over the age of 62 are able to weather recessions just as well as the younger population. As the study’s authors explained, their results “stress the importance of Social Security to the well-being of the elderly.”