France, Social PortraitEdition 2018

France, Social Portrait is for everyone who would like to learn more about French society.

This cross-cutting publication in the “Insee Références” collection throws the spotlight firstly on people aged 65 or over. Two reports then offer an in-depth analysis of the effects of social and fiscal reforms on household income and inequality. Lastly, around forty themed information sheets summarise the main data and provide European comparisons, to complete this social panorama.

Insee Références
Paru le : 20/11/2018
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Standard of living and wealth of senior citizens: generational progression appears to have stalled for the latest generations of seniors

François Gleizes, Sébastien Grobon, Laurence Rioux

From the early 1970s until the crisis of the late 2000s, there was significant progress in the mean standard of living with regard to people aged 65 or over. Having started at a lower level, it caught up with the mean standard of living of people of working age in the mid-1990s, before progressing at the same rate up until the crisis. Subsequently, from 2010 to 2015, the mean standard of living of senior citizens stagnated, while that of people aged 25 to 64, whose resources are more sensitive to economic circumstances, fell to a slight extent. As such, in 2015, the mean standard of living for senior citizens is 3% higher than for people of working age.

In 2015, senior citizens are half as likely to be among the lowest-earning 10% than people between the ages of 25 and 64, in addition to being half as likely to be affected by income poverty. Since 2008, the proportion of senior citizens among the lowest-earning 20% has moderately decreased, together with the proportion in poverty.

Over the generations, the standard of living of senior citizens at a given age has progressed significantly. Such progression is linked to people having higher mean retirement pensions than previous generations reaching the age of 65, owing to more continuous careers (in line with the greater proportion of women in work) and higher wages, as well as an increase in family rights, pension minimums and mandatory supplementary schemes. However, this trend appears to have stalled with regard to the latest generations: the standard of living of the youngest senior citizens in 2015 – born between 1946 and 1950 – is comparable at a given age to that of the generation of 1941-1945.

Having had more opportunity to inherit wealth and more time to accrue wealth through savings, senior citizens hold more wealth than those aged 25 to 64. In 2015, the households of senior citizens have a gross wealth that is 14% higher on average than households for which the reference person is aged between 25 and 64.

Historically, the observed level of wealth of senior citizens at a given age has progressed over generations thanks to a favourable economic environment and a rise in real estate prices. Yet the trend appears to have stalled for the generation of 1946-1950. At the ages of 65 to 69, households for which the reference person was born between 1946 and 1950 have the same mean wealth as households for which the reference person was born between 1941 and 1945.

Insee Références

Paru le : 20/11/2018