September 2, 2014

Aging Population Will Put Pressure on the Budget

Between 2012 and 2050, America’s 65-and-older population will almost double in size to 83.7 million, according to new Census Bureau projections.

The bureau recently released two reports -- one on the aging population and another focusing on the Baby Boom -- that make clear why fundamental fiscal reforms are needed. The demographic changes the reports examine, along with the related issue of rising health care costs, are key drivers of projected federal deficits in the coming decades.

Among the bureau’s projections:

  • There were 22 people who were 65 or older for every 100 working-age people in 2012. That figure will rise to 35 older people by 2030, and to 36 by 2050.
  • The 65-and-older population will be about 39 percent minority in 2050, up from less than 21 percent in 2012.
  • The number of baby boomers will drop from just under 77 million in 2011 to 60 million by 2030 and to 2.4 million by 2060.

Partly because of increases in life expectancy, the report indicates, people over 65 are likely to remain about a fifth of the general population between 2030 and 2050. So even the passing of millions of baby boomers will not return the country to its pre-boom demographic profile or solve its long-term fiscal challenges involving programs like Social Security and Medicare.