Research Report Has Social Security Redistributed to Whites from People of Color?
Caleb Quakenbush, Karen E. Smith, C. Eugene Steuerle
Display Date
Download Report
(7.19 MB)

This brief considers how Social Securitys many benefit and tax features have redistributed across groups over time. Using Current Population Survey data from 1970 through 1994 and microsimulation projections from the Urban Institutes DYNASIM3 model, we find that for many decades, Social Security redistributed from blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color, to whites. These transfers will likely to continue in future decades. Our findings suggest that future reforms that place the burden of Social Security reform solely on younger, more diverse generations may have undesired distributional consequences if the aim of the program is to provide greater relative protections to more vulnerable groups.
Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Aging and retirement Race and equity Taxes and budgets
Tags Social Security Racial and ethnic disparities Pensions Individual taxes Income and wealth distribution Retirement policy Racial inequities in economic mobility Racial wealth gap
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population