Life Course Determinants of Racial Inequality at Older Ages
Joan R. Kahn, University of Maryland
Anthony Hatch, University of Maryland
This paper examines racial disparities in economic well-being at older ages. We focus on the ways in which earlier life course experiences may set individuals on pathways leading to greater or lesser economic well-being later in life. We are especially interested in the role of early life course conditions (e.g., family background and household conditions), untimely transitions (e.g., quitting school, early first birth), and subsequent life course stressors such as financial hardship, occupational strain, job instability, and racial discrimination. Our analysis is based on data collected as part of the Aging Stress and Health (ASH) study which interviewed over 1100 white and black adults ages 65 years and over, residing in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We utilize retrospective life history information to model current wealth wealth and financial strain.