As we have mentioned previously, the US population in 2050 will likely be made of around 20-25% of people older than 60. Of course, the majority of these people will be women. See Projected Future Growth of the Older Population at the Administration on Aging in the US in Department of Health & Human Services.
So the political worry is that we older people will be an increasing burden to those to whom we have given birth. While there is a certain irony in this (if they have been difficult children), is it really true?
We can say that the US will be in better shape than the European countries. In 2050 the median age of Europeans will probably be over 52 years old! See the Wikipedia overview.
In the US, the median age that same year will likely be a relatively young 35 years old. This lower age would be good for the older folk here in the US, because it is the working group that supports the pension we have all paid into (social security) and our medical care.
The Congressional Research Service report of March 31, 2011 expects the working adults (ages 20-64) to be around 54% of our population in 2050. Right now this number is around 58%.
So, to sum up, by 2050 older Americans will increase from around 12 to about 24%, while working adults will decrease from about 58 to 54%. There is a nice set of graphs in this report from the Federation of American Scientists, The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States.
So, although this doesn’t seem to be a massive crisis, the politicians are having a field day. But, have they engaged the older and getting older people (beyond the self-important complainers who are in Congress)? Are they thinking beyond ailments?
Have policies been put in place to encourage older citizens to work full or part-time without taking jobs away from the burgeoning younger working population? What is the US Five Year Plan for businesses/the economy based on changing demographics in the US and the world? Check out China’s multiple Five Year Plans; India’s Five Year Plans.
Let’s focus on what can be done before the well-to-do Congressional complainers and presidential contenders take, take, and take.