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New Study Shows Social Security Reduces Inequality for Working-Age Americans

October 2, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement on a new study that shows how Social Security reduces inequality for working-age Americans:


“This study underscores the importance of Social Security in so many ways, especially for working-age adults and  people of color. It demonstrates that all generations, even today’s young workers, have a stake in Social Security because it reduces the burden on working-age adults to support their retired parents, and allows them to begin building wealth. This is critical for Black females and lower-income families.


“In short, this study reaffirms that Social Security is the foundation of economic security for Americans of all ages and backgrounds. This makes it both an intergenerational issue and a civil rights issue – something that John Lewis pointed out. I will keep fighting the President’s plan to defund Social Security, and will continue working to strengthen and expand it through the Social Security 2100 Act,” said Larson.


The study, The Impact of Social Security Eligibility on Transfers to Elderly Parents and Wealth-building among Adult Children, was authored by Howard University researcher Andria Smythe and published by the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was funded with a grant from the Social Security Administration.  A summary of the key findings from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research can be found here.


Smythe found that “[b]y reducing poverty among the elderly, and thus reducing elderly parents’ reliance on adult children, Social Security may be able to interrupt the cycle of poverty between generations” and “may contribute to wealth-building among the adult children generation.” While these conclusions held across demographic groups, they were especially pronounced for Black, female, and lower-income families.