Research and Analysis by Barbara A. Butrica

The Changing Impact of Social Security on Retirement Income in the United States
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 65 No. 3 (released January 2005)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Howard M. Iams, and Karen E. Smith

This article assesses the role of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the economic well-being of baby-boomer retirees and their predecessors. The results suggest that, similar to current retirees, Social Security will account for about two-fifths of projected income for baby-boomer retirees. On average, SSI will contribute almost nothing to total income and will be received by fewer baby-boomer retirees than by current retirees. Although baby boomers can expect higher incomes and lower poverty rates at retirement than current retirees have, they can also expect lower replacement rates. The decline in replacement rates is driven, in part, by a decline in Social Security replacement rates.

The Disappearing Defined Benefit Pension and Its Potential Impact on the Retirement Incomes of Baby Boomers
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 3 (released October 2009)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Howard M. Iams, Karen E. Smith, and Eric J. Toder

A large share of traditional defined benefit pension plans have frozen within the past decade and evidence suggests that this trend will continue in the future. This article uses the Model of Income in the Near Term (MINT) microsimulation model to project the impact on boomers' retirement incomes of freezing traditional pension plans and replacing them with 401(k)-type plans. The projections suggest that the largest impact will be for the most recent boomers born between 1961 and 1965.

Divorced Women at Retirement: Projections of Economic Well-Being in the Near Future
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 63 No. 3 (released July 2001)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Howard M. Iams

This article describes the economic resources and economic well-being of future divorced women at retirement using data from the Social Security Administration's project on Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT). The MINT model projects that in the near term, there will be more divorced women of retirement age. Because fewer of those women are projected to meet the 10-year marriage requirement, the proportion of economically vulnerable aged women is expected to increase when the baby boom retires.

The Impact of Changes in Couples' Earnings on Married Women's Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

This article uses the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to examine how changes in married women's labor force participation and earnings will impact the Social Security benefits of current and future beneficiary wives. Over the next 30 years, a larger share of wives will be eligible for Social Security benefits based solely on their own earnings, and wives' average Social Security benefits are expected to increase by 50 percent. Despite rising female lifetime earnings, wives' earnings typically remain below those of their husbands, so many wives who are retired-worker-only beneficiaries while their husbands are alive will receive auxiliary benefits when their husbands die.

Methods in Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT I)
ORES Working Paper No. 91 (released June 2001)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Howard M. Iams, James H. Moore, and Mikki D. Waid

This paper summarizes the work completed by SSA, with substantial assistance from the Brookings Institution, RAND, and the Urban Institute, for the Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT I) model. In most cases, several methods of estimating and projecting demographic characteristics and income were researched and tested; however, this appendix describes only those methods eventually used in the MINT I model.

Projecting Retirement Income of Future Retirees with Panel Data: Results from the Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) Project
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 62 No. 4 (released April 2000)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Howard M. Iams

This article describes a model that projects the retirement income of Social Security beneficiaries from 1997 through 2031 using a number of panel data sources. With these data, we examine the composition of retirement income for future retirees in various birth cohorts, racial groups, marital states, and educational categories.

Projections of Economic Well-Being for Social Security Beneficiaries in 2022 and 2062
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 4 (released April 2007)
by Barbara A. Butrica, David B. Cashin, and Cori E. Uccello

This article assesses the prospects for retirement security among Social Security beneficiaries in 2022 and 2062. In absolute terms, beneficiaries in 2062 will be better off than those in 2022, at least assuming Social Security benefits scheduled under current law. Relative measures of well-being, however, suggest a decline in well-being between 2022 and 2062. Projected improvements over time would lessen, and declines would be exacerbated, if Social Security benefits are reduced according to what is payable under current-law taxes.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

The authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to describe the likely characteristics, work experience, Social Security benefit status, and economic well-being of future divorced women at age 70, by race and ethnicity. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having a strong history of labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. However, because divorced black and Hispanic women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, income sources, or assets, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women.

The Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

To project the retirement resources and well-being of divorced women, the authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6). Findings show that Social Security benefits and retirement incomes are projected to increase for divorced women and that their poverty rates are projected to decline, due in large part to women's increasing lifetime earnings. However, not all divorced women will be equally well off; economic well-being in retirement varies by Social Security benefit type.

This Is Not Your Parents' Retirement: Comparing Retirement Income Across Generations
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Karen E. Smith, and Howard M. Iams

This article examines how retirement income at age 67 is likely to change for baby boomers and generation Xers compared with current retirees. The authors use the Modeling Income in the Near Term model to project retirement income, assets, poverty rates, and replacement rates for current and future retirees at age 67. In absolute terms, retirement incomes of future cohorts will increase over time, and poverty rates will fall. However, projected income gains are larger for high than for low socioeconomic groups, leading to increased income inequality among future retirees.

Using Data for Couples to Project the Distributional Effects of Changes in Social Security Policy
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 62 No. 3 (released January 2000)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Howard M. Iams, and Steven H. Sandell

This article addresses the importance of using data for couples rather than individuals to estimate Social Security benefits. We show how individual data can underestimate actual Social Security benefits, particularly for women, and discuss how its use has implications for policy evaluation.