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Older Nebraskans 'Punching Above Their Weight' in Economic Contributions

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In 2018, Nebraskans age 50 and older contributed 250 hours, on average, per year caring for loved ones, at a value of $2.2 billion. (Pxfuel)
In 2018, Nebraskans age 50 and older contributed 250 hours, on average, per year caring for loved ones, at a value of $2.2 billion. (Pxfuel)
 By Eric Galatas - Producer, Contact
October 27, 2020

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraskans age 50 and older create a big economic impact that should help the state's economy recover from the pandemic and drive economic growth for the next 30 years, according to new research from AARP.

Todd Stubbendieck, state director at AARP Nebraska, said the study refutes a popular misconception that as people get older, they become less valuable and contribute less to society.

"And in truth, people over the age of 50 have a disproportionate positive impact," Stubbendieck said. "When you look at their contribution as a percentage of GDP, they're outpunching their weight, to use a sports analogy."

In 2018, people age 50 and older made up just 34% of Nebraska's population, but contributed 39% to the state's total gross domestic product. That contribution -- as consumers, workers, business owners, volunteers and family caregivers -- is expected to reach more than $150 billion by 2050.

Stubbendieck said many older Nebraskans continue to struggle economically, and investments at the state and local level can ensure they get the resources and opportunities they need.

The report also highlights how Nebraska's 50-plus population often have a second, nearly full-time job.

"In 2018, Nebraskans over the age of 50 contributed 250 hours on average per year caring for loved ones, at a value of $2.2 billion," he said. "They're not getting paid for that time, but that's the equivalent (value) they have. It is a sort of hidden contribution that these folks are providing."

In 2018, Nebraskans age 50-plus put in an average of 113 volunteer hours a year, valued at $1.4 billion. For folks who are looking to stay engaged after retirement, Stubbendieck said there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer safely from home.

"I think the first place to start is to stop and think, 'What are you passionate about?' and 'What would you like to accomplish?' And then begin to reach out to those organizations that match those priorities for you," he said.

Disclosure: AARP Nebraska contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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