The Aging Population in the United States and Its Effect on Our Economy

Social Security (United States), Pension, AARP

Managerial Economics ORG 342

The Aging Population in the United States and its Effect on our Economy

July 20, 2010

Aging Population 1

The population in the United States is aging at an unprecedented pace. For the first time in history, seventy percent of everyone who has ever lived is alive today (Isidro, 2009). The aging population and their imminent retirement will place an even greater strain on the country’s financial resources. The baby boomers; people born between 1946 and 1964 have influenced our economy by their sheer number. As this age group matures and enters their retirement years, an economic shift is inevitable. Not only will changes be seen in government programs such as social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but consumer spending will also see a dramatic transformation. Over the next thirty years, the United States will see the largest demographic change in history. 77 million baby boomers will cease to work and pay payroll taxes (Fehr, Jokisch, 2005). The drain on government social programs will be severe as the baby boomers retire and collect benefits. The gradual aging of the population will bring demographic changes not seen since the end of World War II. The increase in the number of people over age 65 strongly influences social, economical, medical, and personal situations. This phenomenon of aging will place extraordinary pressures on the economic resources necessary to sustain the population’s standard of living. In the Aging Population 2

United States, individuals over the age of 65 constituted 4 percent of the American population in the year 1900. In the year 1972, 10 percent of the population was over the age of 65. Estimates for the year 2050 are as high as 22 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). In the next 10 to 15 years, the first of the baby boomers will begin to retire. This will be a large generational shift from the young to the old. The United States population boom following World War II,...
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