urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Richard W. Johnson

Richard W. Johnson

Senior Fellow
Director of the Program on Retirement Policy

"The graying of America, often described as our aging crisis, actually presents enormous opportunity. The population is growing older largely because longevity has soared since the beginning of the twentieth century—one of history’s great achievements. Americans are living longer and healthier than ever before. The challenge we face is how to reform our employment and entitlement policies to harness the talents of our increasingly capable older citizens to ensure the nation’s continued prosperity."

Richard Johnson is an expert on income and health security at older ages. Much of his research focuses on older Americans' employment and retirement decisions. Recent studies have examined job loss at older ages, occupational change after age 50, employment prospects for 50+ African Americans and Hispanics, and the impact of the 2007-2009 recession and its aftermath on older workers and future retirement incomes. He has also written extensively about retirement preparedness, including the financial and health risks people face as they approach retirement, economic hardship in the years before Social Security's early eligibility age, and the adequacy of the disability safety net.

Johnson's other research interests center on medical and long-term care costs at older ages. He has testified before Congress about the family costs of elder care and about gaps in health insurance coverage among older adults who have not yet qualified for Medicare. Current projects include studies that forecast the future demand for home care and nursing home care and future out-of-pocket spending on medical care.

PhD, Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Areas of expertise

Older workers, pensions, retirement preparedness, long-term care financing, caregiving

Selected Publications from Richard W. Johnson

  • Work and Retirement Patterns for the G.I. Generation, Silent Generation, and Early Boomers: Thirty Years of Change
  • Are Health Care Costs a Burden for Older Americans?
  • How Secure Are Retirement Nest Eggs?
  • Publications by topic:
    Economic Well-being
    Health and Health Care
    Health Insurance

    See all publications by Richard W. Johnson

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    Call the Office of Public Affairs (202) 261-5709

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