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Number of retired workers receiving Social Security in the U.S. 2009-2019

The number of retired workers receiving Social Security benefits increased from approximately 33.5 million in 2009 to 45.1 million in 2019. This figure has increased at the same rate year-on-year over the past decade and is likely to continue into the future.

What is Social Security?

Social Security benefits are payments, which are paid out by the U.S. government to qualified retirees and disabled people, as well as to their spouses, children and survivors. These payments are meant to provide them with partial replacement income. Social security expenditure is forecast to increase year-on-year over the next decade, as it has since the beginning of the 21st century.

The impact of demographic change

This is likely to the fact that the U.S. population is aging rapidly, which means that seniors will account for a greater proportion of the population in the future. This demographic change will put pressure on government resources, because the workforce whose tax dollars pay for social benefits will make up a smaller percentage of the population than now. Americans who are 65 years and older are the demographic group estimated to grow the most over the next 40 years, whereas the other groups will mostly remain the same.

Number of retired workers receiving Social Security in the United States from 2009 to 2019

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

2009 to 2019

Special properties

as of December each year.

Supplementary notes

Retired worker is defined as a beneficiary who worked in covered employment long enough to be insured and who is at least 62 years old (benefits equal to the "primary insurance amount" are payable at the normal retirement age; maximum benefits are payable at age 70).

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Statistics on "Pensioners in the U.S."

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