Using longitudinal data from the Retirement History Study (RHS), we traced the economic well-being of couples who were not poor just prior to retirement through up to 10 years of retirement. The vast majority of these couples did not become poor during their first years of retirement. However, the risk and pattern of poverty during retirement varied greatly across groups identified by marital status and pension status. Married couples with pension income who survived over the period of our analysis rarely fell into poverty. Even surviving couples without pension income were not very likely to face poverty. Our findings indicate, however, that the death of a husband dramatically alters the risk and pattern of poverty in retirement.
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