Wealth and Retirement: Pondering the Fate of Formerly Incarcerated Men During the Golden Years

Ngina Chiteji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article extends the existing literature about the consequences that having a prison record has on formerly incarcerated men’s labor market outcomes by projecting forward to think about what the diminished labor market prospects may mean for men when they reach retirement age. We find that formerly incarcerated men have little wealth accumulated by their late 40s and 50s, that they have limited access to on-the-job pensions, and that some may not even be able to rely on Social Security when they are old. The article uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) and focuses most of its attention on the plight of Black men and Latino men, as this is the subset of the population that was particularly affected by the nation’s mass incarceration policies of the late 20th century. The implications of the findings for Black and Brown men’s prospects during old age are discussed, as are the implications for the way that policy scholars think about race, aging, and public policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-189
Number of pages39
JournalReview of Black Political Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • formerly incarcerated
  • mass incarceration
  • pensions
  • retirement
  • wealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Economics and Econometrics


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