How Is the Mortality Gap Affecting Social Security Progressivity?


The brief’s key findings are:

  • While Americans are generally living longer, the gains have been unequal; those with higher socioeconomic status (SES) have substantially longer lifespans.
  • This growing mortality gap works against Social Security’s progressive benefit design, as higher-SES individuals end up getting their benefits for a longer period.
  • As a result, studies find that the mortality gap has significantly reduced – though not eliminated – the overall progressivity of the Social Security program.

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