The U.S. Census Bureau released data from its 2017 National Population Projections on March 13 revealing an important demographic turning point in U.S. history. The report noted that by 2030, all Baby Boomers will be older than age 65. This will increase the size of the older population such that one in every five U.S. residents will be of retirement age.
“The aging of Baby Boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” the release said, quoting Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. “By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18.”
The Census Bureau’s projections indicated that the 2030s will be a “transformative” decade for the U.S. population in several respects. Notably, the population is expected to grow at a slower pace, age considerably, and become more racially and ethnically diverse.
The major source of population growth is also expected to shift. What the bureau describes as net international migration (as a result of immigration) is projected to overtake natural increase in 2030 as the primary source of population growth in the United States. The report said this is another demographic first for the United States
The balance between the increase in the native-born population as opposed to the increase attributable to immigration will be affected not only by the number of births among the native born, but also the number of deaths.
The report noted:
Although births are projected to be nearly four times larger than the level of net international migration in coming decades, a rising number of deaths will increasingly offset how much births are able to contribute to population growth. Between 2020 and 2050, the number of deaths is projected to rise substantially as the population ages and a significant share of the population, the baby boomers, age into older adulthood. As a result, the population will naturally grow very slowly, leaving net international migration to overtake natural increase as the leading cause of population growth, even as projected levels of migration remain relatively constant.
The report did not distinguish between legal and illegal immigration — a factor that is likely to alter these projections, since illegal aliens who fear deportation and less likely to register for the census than those who are here legally.
Other statistics in the report included:
The U.S. population is projected to grow by 78 million people between now and 2060, increasing from about 326 million today to 404 million then.
However, the rate at which the U.S. population grows is expected to slow down in coming years. It is projected to grow by an average of 2.3 million people per year until 2030, but then decline to an average increase of 1.8 million per year between 2030 and 2040, falling to 1.5 million per year from 2040 to 2060.
Another statistic was very important for those worried about how Social Security will be funded as the population ages. It stated that as this occurs, the ratio of older adults to working-age adults, “also known as the old-age dependency ratio,” is projected to rise. It noted:
By 2020, there will be about three-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. By 2060, that ratio will fall to just two-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person.
The report also stated that the median age of the U.S. population is expected to grow from age 38 today to age 43 by 2060.
The report also projected that the non-Hispanic, white-alone population is projected to decline over the coming decades, falling from 199 million in 2020 to 179 million in 2060. It attributed this decline to anticipated falling birth rates and a rising number of deaths among non-Hispanic whites as its population ages. However, when no distinction is made between Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, the white-alone population is projected to grow from about 253 million to 275 million over the same period.
Much of what is found in the 2017 National Population Projections was quite predictable. The demographic phenomenon known as the Baby Boom, the high birth rate among American women between 1946 to 1964, has been well documented. The boom was launched when millions of World War II veterans came home and started families after the war ended in 1945, and ended soon after the introduction of the birth control pill in 1963.
This latest census study merely reports what exists. It draws no conclusions about the social consequences of the aging of the American population nor does it provide any recommendations to avoid harmful consequences.
A predictable outcome of having several generations with high birth rates followed by succeeding generations with low birth rates is that, eventually, there will be smaller numbers of workers paying into the Social Security system, just as the number of retirees is very high.
If one conclusion can be made from this latest census study, it is that the influential abortion and contraception lobby that has contributed to America’s declining birth rate for the past 55 years will inevitably change the demographic makeup of our nation in the future. Much has been written about the morality of the contraceptive culture, but that culture will have economic consequences, as well.
As was noted in an article published by The New American in 2012:
Currently, the birth rate of children per woman in the U.S. is about 1.9, or 0.2 births below what an industrialized country needs to sustain itself.
The U.S. replacement rate, combined with the country’s exorbitant entitlement system, could singlehandedly dismantle the U.S. economy in the coming decades. If the birth rate continues to decline, and if government programs like Medicare and Social Security are not reformed, the federal government will likely endure a severe financial collapse, due to a weakened labor force that funds those programs.
Before the European economic crisis, demographers were sounding the alarm over the continent’s dreary demographic future. Indeed, the question has become, how can Europe nurture its aging population when its plummeting fertility rate looms toward a dwindling workforce in the decades to come? The U.S. birth rate has yet to reach European levels, but it’s certainly heading in that direction.
Consequently, lawmakers must reformulate how the government financially supports the elderly. If not, tax rates will skyrocket and an inflationary hailstorm will rain down on the country, leaving a severely devalued dollar, boosting unemployment to record numbers, and pushing the United States into complete economic peril.
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