Older Women’s Income and Wealth Packages in Cross-National Perspective

Timothy M. SmeedingJanet C. GornickEva Sierminska Maurice Leach



In this report, we assess the economic well-being of elderly women in cross-national perspective, comparing the United States to four other rich countries:  the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Sweden.  These countries constitute an illuminating group, as they have diverse social policy systems, with respect to both social insurance and public assistance; and they have very different patterns of private wealth holding.

Using the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) which contains harmonized wealth micro-datasets from a number of industrialized countries, we analyze the income and wealth packages of older women’s households, across these five countries.  Our primary focus is on wealth, including both financial and non-financial assets. The LWS findings that we report are supplemented by results on older women’s employment rates from the longstanding LIS income datasets and by a new institutional database which we have developed for LWS users.

For the full paper please see the Journals of Gerontology